The Roger Stone Indictment Proves Barr’s Memo Understates Trump Flunkies’ Complicity

I’ve made this point implicitly a few times, but it bears making explicitly. We have proof that Bill Barr’s memo spins the known contents of the Mueller Report to minimize the complicity of Trump’s flunkies. That’s because we can compare what we know about Roger Stone’s efforts to optimize the release of the emails Russia stole with the language used in the memo.

As alleged in sworn statements and his indictment, Stone’s actions include at least the following:

  • Around July 19, 2016: Fresh off dining with some Brexiteers, Stone calls Trump and tells him, “within a couple of days, there would be a massive dump of emails that would damage Hillary Clinton’s campaign,” to which Trump responds, “wouldn’t that be great.”
  • After July 22: A senior Trump campaign official “was directed” (the indictment doesn’t say by whom) to figure out from Stone what else would be coming
  • July 25: Stone emails Jerome Corsi and asks him to “get the pending WikiLeaks emails”
  • August 2: Corsi writes back and reflects knowledge that the emails would include Podesta ones and there would be two email drops, one shortly after he returned and one in October
  • October 4: After Assange has a press conference but doesn’t release any emails, Steve Bannon emails Stone and asks what happened, and Stone replies that WikiLeaks will release “a load every week going forward”
  • October 7: As the Podesta emails start to come out right after the Access Hollywood video — timing that Jerome Corsi has claimed Stone helped ensure — a Bannon associate texts Stone and says, “well done”

Now, none of that was itself charged as a crime. Stone was not charged with conspiring with WikiLeaks. But then, short of making an argument that WikiLeaks is a known agent of Russia — which the US government has never done — optimizing the WikiLeaks release is not a crime. But assuming that Corsi is correct that Stone got WikiLeaks to hold the Podesta release to dampen the impact of the Access Hollywood video, it is absolutely coordination. And even according to Stone — who believed Trump needed to avoid alienating women to win — dampening the release of the video influenced the election.

Now consider how this behavior falls into Barr’s supposed exoneration of Trump campaign involvement in the hack-and-leak.

First, there’s Barr’s truncated citation of a Mueller Report sentence. [my emphasis throughout]

As the report states: “[T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”

Then a footnote defining what the word “coordinated” means in that sentence.

In assessing potential conspiracy charges, the Special Counsel also considered whether members of the Trump campaign “coordinated” with Russian election interference activities. The Special Counsel defined “coordinated” as an “agreement–tacit or express–between the Trump Campaign and the Russian government on election interference.”

Finally, there’s Barr’s own version.

The second element involved the Russian government’s efforts to conduct computer hacking operations designed to gather and disseminate information to influence the election. The Special Counsel found that Russian government actors successfully hacked into computers and obtained emails from persons affiliated with the Clinton campaign and Democratic Party organizations, and publicly disseminated those materials through various intermediaries, including WikiLeaks. Based on these activities, the Special Counsel brought criminal charges against a number of Russian military officers for conspiring to hack into computers in the United States for purposes of influencing the election. But as noted above, the Special Counsel did not find that the Trump campaign, or anyone associated with it, conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in these efforts, despite multiple offers from Russian-affiliated individuals to assist the Trump campaign.

The exoneration for coordination in Mueller’s language, at least, extends only to the Trump campaign, not to rat-fuckers working on the side (one of the things Mueller reportedly asked a lot of witnesses was precisely when and why Stone left the campaign). And at least according to this language, Mueller’s assessment of coordination extended only to coordination with the Russian government. So even if Mueller and the US government are getting close to labeling WikiLeaks a Russian entity, it still wouldn’t count for this assessment. Unsurprisingly, Barr relies on that language to give the Trump campaign a clean bill of health on the hack-and-leak side.

Most cynically, though, even after Barr acknowledges that the Russians used WikiLeaks to disseminate the stolen emails, the very next sentence doesn’t mention the charges Mueller brought against Stone for hiding his own (and through him, the campaign’s, including Donald Trump’s) coordination of the releases “for purposes of influencing the election.”

But we know Stone’s indictment has to be in the report. That’s because the report, by regulation, must list all Mueller’s prosecutorial decisions. So not only would Mueller describe that he indicted Stone, but he probably also explains why he didn’t include a conspiracy charge in Stone’s indictment (which probably relates primarily to First Amendment concerns, and not any illusions about WikiLeaks’ willing service for Russia on this operation). So it must be in the report. But Barr doesn’t mention that, indeed, the Trump campaign, through their associated rat-fucker, did actually coordinate on the hack-and-leak and did actually influence the election by doing so, they just didn’t coordinate directly with the Russian government.

On this matter, it’s crystal clear that Barr cynically limited his discussion of the report to obscure that Mueller had, indeed, found that the campaign “coordinated” on the hack-and-leak for purposes of influencing the election.

Barr has already demonstrated bad faith in his representation of Mueller’s findings. Which is why it is so alarming that — according to an uncharacteristically alarmed Peter Baker — DOJ plans to write a summary of Mueller’s report for Congress, not send over a redacted version of it.

Mueller’s full report has yet to be released, and it remained unclear if it ever would be. House Democrats have demanded that it be sent to them by next Tuesday, but the Justice Department outlined a longer schedule, saying that it will have its own summary ready to send to lawmakers within weeks, though not months.

Barr has already failed the test of whether he can summarize Mueller’s results in good faith.

As I disclosed last July, I provided information to the FBI on issues related to the Mueller investigation, so I’m going to include disclosure statements on Mueller investigation posts from here on out. I will include the disclosure whether or not the stuff I shared with the FBI pertains to the subject of the post. 

278 replies
  1. I Never Lie and am Always Right says:

    This is Consistent with what Barr has done in the past. Barr is channeling Karl Rove in his use of language. We need the actual report released. Now.

    • CapeCodFisher says:

      I can assure you that the Stonewaller-In-Chief will not give you the report “now”… and will probably be able to drag out the release until after the 2020 elections.

      • elk_l says:

        We have a chance on this one. If Barr gives the full Mueller Report to the White House it will be all over the place in short order.

          • elk_l says:

            The Trump White House has leaked more than any WH in history. That is one of the things this WH does with tremendous efficiency. Get the Mueller Report there and it could happen.

            • Tech Support says:

              Exactly why Barr would likely be reluctant to turn the unredacted report over to the WH.

      • CapeCodFisher says:

        Sorry I guess I’m overlooking the thrust of this article. Look how skillfully M W reveals the contents of mueller report without actually having the report in her hands. Connecting the dots and digging into the abyss of testimony. Just world class oversight. Thanks.

        • dwfreeman says:

          Marcy is reporting on the requirements of the MR and its supposed contents, which would include the Stone indictment, which she is quoting from along with her own timeline knowledge of certain events. She is making solid educated guesses on what Barr did to limit the narrow scope and definition he apparently used in summarizing Trump complicity based on interpreted Mueller findings in collusion coordination and obstruction activities mostly performed in public view and reported in plain sight.

          • J R in WV says:

            It was obvious that the construction of “Russian Government” combined with the Russian Government’s consistent use of civilian cut-outs and non-governmental agents was built to allow the administration to deny a conspiracy between our President (how THAT hurts!) and the Russian government.

            If people arrange to rob a bank and hire Donald to drive for them, then Donald, the driver, who only knew he was to drive a white window-less van to First National at 2 pm, is none-the-less guilty of conspiracy to rob the First National.

            But secret dealing with a hostile foreign power? No problemo !!! Thanks for asking!

      • Raven Eye says:

        Trump will be totally forthcoming regarding the Mueller report…

        …He’ll handle this situation just like he handled his tax returns.

      • Vinnie Gambone says:

        Forgive me if there is a spock infraction with this link Rayne, but I offer it in the hopes somebody else also needs a lift . Lyrics cut fairly close to our subject.

        And I have been telling all my imbecile trump supporter friends,
        This must mean OJ was innocent too.

        Pancho & Lefty
        Townes Van Zandt

        Living on the road my friend
        Was gonna keep you free and clean
        Now you wear your skin like iron
        Your breath’s as hard as kerosene
        You weren’t your mama’s only boy
        But her favorite one it seems
        She began to cry when you said goodbye
        And sank into your dreams
        Pancho was a bandit boys
        His horse was fast as polished steel
        Wore his gun outside his pants
        For all the honest world to feel
        Pancho met his match you know
        On the deserts down in Mexico
        Nobody heard his dying words
        That’s the way it goes
        All the federales say
        They could have had him any day
        They only let him hang around
        Out of kindness I suppose
        Lefty he can’t sing the blues
        All night long like he used to
        The dust that Pancho bit down south
        Ended up in Lefty’s mouth
        The day they laid poor Pancho low
        Lefty split for Ohio
        Where he got the bread to go
        There ain’t nobody knows
        All the federales say
        They could have had him any day
        They only let him slip away
        Out of kindness I suppose
        The poets tell how Pancho fell
        Lefty’s livin’ in a cheap hotel
        The desert’s quiet and Cleveland’s cold
        So the story ends we’re told
        Pancho needs your prayers it’s true,
        But save a few for Lefty too
        He just did what he had to do
        Now he’s growing old
        A few gray federales say
        They could have had him any day
        They only let him go so wrong
        Out of kindness I suppose

        • Pablo in the Gazebo says:

          I saw Steve Earle sing this and it’s been hanging in my head ever since. Nobody I was with knew why I liked it, but they hadn’t heard it.

          • horses says:

            Steve Earle is a genuine monster of American songwriting.

            The first time I heard Billy Austin on college radio it was a struggle not to crash my car.

            My name is Billy Austin
            I’m Twenty-Nine years old
            I was born in Oklahoma
            Quarter Cherokee I’m told
            Don’t remember Oklahoma
            Been so long since I left home
            Seems like I’ve always been in prison
            Like I’ve always been alone
            Didn’t mean to hurt nobody
            Never thought I’d cross that line
            I held up a filling station
            Like I’d done a hundred times
            The kid done like I told him
            He lay face down on the floor
            Guess I’ll never know what made me
            Turn and walk back through that door
            The shot rang out like thunder
            My ears rang like a bell
            No one came runnin’
            So I called the cops myself
            Took their time to get there
            And I guess I could’a run
            I knew I should be feeling something
            But I never shed tear one
            I didn’t even make the papers
            ‘Cause I only killed one man
            But my trial was over quickly
            And then the long hard wait began
            Court appointed lawyer
            Couldn’t look me in the eye
            He just stood up and closed his briefcase
            When they sentenced me to die
            Now my waitin’s over
            As the final hour drags by
            I ain’t about to tell you
            That I don’t deserve to die
            But there’s twenty-seven men here
            Mostly black, brown and poor
            Most of em are guilty
            Who are you to say for sure?
            So when the preacher comes to get me
            And they shave off all my hair
            Could you take that long walk with me
            Knowing hell is waitin’ there
            Could you pull that switch yourself sir
            With a sure and steady hand
            Could you still tell youself
            That you’re better than I am
            My name is Billy Austin
            I’m twenty-nine years old
            I was born in Oklahoma
            Quarter Cherokee I’m told

        • Fran of the North says:

          Townes Van Zandt is the real deal. An American troubadour for sure.

          When I first heard Pancho and Lefty, I reflected on how it described one of my best friends from university whose story mirrors Pancho’s.

          An awesome song that paints a 1080P picture of friendship and addiction.

          Me, I don’t live in O-Hi- Oh. But close.

    • Rugger9 says:

      There’s the counterintelligence report Barr can’t hold back by law as noted here before by our colleagues. The Palace and Kaiser Quisling will fight tooth and nail to hide that one.

      OT but very concerning: Pence’s over the top demand to be back on the moon within 5 years (i.e. in time for the 2024 election) and to make it so by threatening to go commercial if NASA doesn’t get it done.

      My questions:
      1. Since when is NASA supposed to un-learn the lessons of the shuttle program when it came to cutting corners to make schedules?
      2. How many dead astronauts is Pence willing to make to hit his deadline?
      3. Given that it is rumored that an American woman goes first, why not Ivanka (maybe the Palace will take safety seriously then) on that moon mission to fully establish the Trump brand? Think of the publicity.

      • Rayne says:

        In re: NASA — I admit I’m torn. There are parts of the “going commercial” which may be perfectly acceptable. SpaceX is doing very well with rockets for commercial payloads and has now run a test payload this past month for certification for human flight. We desperately need to move away from Russian-only launches to ferry astronauts to the ISS and SpaceX is nearly ready. Other portions of NASA need to remain wholly within government purview, though the failure of NASA to provide adequate numbers of space suits for women astronauts is instructive about government’s inherent biases in desperate need of shake up from outside.

        And fuck Ivanka. Don’t even toy with that idea. The rage of women against her bullshit faux feminism used to mask her grifting is highly flammable.

        Ditto for Pence. I am happy Pete Buttigieg is doing so well in his campaign for 2020 in spite of being white and male, mostly because it must bug the shit out of that monster Pence to see a gay Hoosier become more popular than he is with the public.

        • Katherine M Williams says:

          NASA already has a program for transferring their technology to the private sector. It began during Clinton’s 2nd term. I worked for them for a year or so. That Branch was full of lawyers.

          • Rayne says:

            Both Challenger and Columbia explain why there’d be so many lawyers involved. But as I noted about the women’s space suits, there’s still opportunity. Can private sector produce women’s space suits at a cost substantially less than $250 million each now that the specs have been in place for some time? Can they do it even with a lawyer for every engineer on the team? What do we have to lose if women astronauts can’t walk in space in the event of an emergency?

            • bmaz says:

              Considering how the original space suits were designed, and who constructed by, you’d think this not such a problem.

    • i am sam says:

      A slimy slug from the Republican past writes a 19-page memo exonerating the Gangster-in Chief of obstruction. The slimy slug then gets a job as AJ. As Gomer Pyle would say—“Surprise, Surprise.”
      Barr was sent in to control things for his beloved Party. If you don’t see it, I would like to sell you an old bridge in Brooklyn. Cheap.

      [Welcome back to emptywheel. Please use the same username each time you comment so community members get to know you. This is the 4th variation you’ve used of the same name. Thanks. /~Rayne]

      • I am Sam says:

        Barr is sitting there filing boring briefs while the great game is passing him by. He decides to jump in and rescue his party with his outreach memo. He lands the job. He then scrubs the report and stonewalls its release. Come on people. This guy is a throwback to the scum of the Grant or Warren G. Harding days. Or maybe Nixon/John Mitchell. My opinion he would belongs with Mitchel, in the same comfortable cell.

    • Dr. Bob says:

      I have a question for EVERYBODY. Does anyone think that Mr. Mueller just decided that he was done? Barr was sworn in about 30 days prior to the Mueller probe ending. Based on his previous views and that of rumpf I have been feeling that Barr, after being sworn in, called Mueller into his office and told him to end the investigation. Mr Mueller was still in the process with the mystery company, stone, etc. It doesn’t feel like HE felt that the investigation was over. Also note …. No one in the M.S.M has put this question forward. How come?

      • timbo says:

        Possibly because rumors that the report was almost completed appeared prior to the current AG being sworn in?

    • CapeCodFisher says:

      Get a look? Lmao that’s funny.. nobody is even going to get a sniff. Chances are better that SDNY, EDVA and house oversight will take him down before the Mueller report will. And even those probes will run into presidential backed delays.

      • hester says:

        Exactly this. we just have to vote this guy out, as well as take back the senate. Digby had a piece up yesterday about a ‘focus’ group. Many people do not care about this… they (esp. Republicans) don’t even care if trump is trying to build a motel (lol) in Moscow…

        I was hopeful… now not so about the M report.

        Just vote these thugs out. My 2centimes

        • MattyG says:

          Nope. The report is still essential for the conspiracy side – especially if Barr/GOP is so intent on tiptoeing around it. Unless you are taking Barr at his word which I doubt. The relevant House committees must push as far as they have to go – SCOTUS if necessary. SDNY etc will take care of laundering and the ‘normal’ criminality etc.

          • Jockobadger says:

            You’re right Matty. The MR is a political instrument for a political purpose. I’m convinced Mueller meant for it to go to Congress, but Barr has hijacked it. The thing that worries me (and others I’ve read lately) is that even if we vote the thugs out in 2020, there won’t be a cordial transition (they’re thugs, after all.) Trump has said as much. What’s that going to look like?

        • Brendan says:

          Considering all of the GOP’s election rigging that will undoubtedly occur in 2020, that just isn’t comforting at all. To quote the late Bill Paxton: “Game over, man. Game over!”

          • Greenhouse says:

            Yeah, I’d say the rethugs are the real aliens.
            “What do you mean they cut the power? How could they cut the power, man? They’re animals!”

  2. harpie says:

    Wouldn’t it be standard practice for OSC to write something like an executive summary? Why can’t we see that? Today?…Yesterday?

  3. CapeCodFisher says:

    Full Cover-up. It appears that Trumps greatest skill is his ability to conceal his crimes. Second place would be his ability to stonewall and drag out the investigations with all kinds of loopholes and appeals. His accountability could be years away.

    • AMG says:

      Trump’s ability to stonewall and drag out is the playbook Roy Cohn handed to him back in 1973 when trump was sued by DOJ for violations of the fair housing act.

      Trump has been using legal threats and the courts to bully and harass his whole life.

    • jayedcoins says:

      (No hard feelings if the mods don’t want to release this comment…)

      WW — you can try a few things.
      1. Try opening the article in incognito/private browsing.
      2. Try opening the article in another browser.
      3. Try clearing cookies.

      I actually have a rule that clears cookies for certain sites when I end a browsing session.

      And just for the record, we subscribe to the local paper (Detroit Free Press)!

        • Willis Warren says:

          To Mr. Trump’s critics, however, the development represents a dangerous degradation of the rule of law, handing a president almost complete leeway to thwart any effort by federal law enforcement authorities to scrutinize his actions almost as if he were a king.

          “They’re just trying to create a new kind of monarchy in the United States and have a president who’s not accountable,” said former Representative Elizabeth Holtzman, a New York Democrat who sat on the House Judiciary Committee that passed articles of impeachment against Mr. Nixon for obstruction of justice and other charges before his resignation in August 1974.

          • orionATL says:

            holtzman is right on the mark.

            the contemporary republican party, with whole Congress complicity stretching over many years, has indeed created the perfect article II environment for a president-king to emerge. and it happens that donald Trump has precisely the required authoritarian bully personality to take advantage of that opportunity. Donald Trump is effectively king of America and more dangerous now than ever since, with Barr’s ascension, trump is now in control of American federal law, both the national policing force and the judiciary. expect him to edploit and abuse his power over the next two years to continue the coverup and to attack his critics.

            is trump a traitor for both his dealings with Russia and his betrayal of the intent and the scripture of the American constitution? yes indeed.

            are the Republicans who are protecting trump from disclosure of his collusion with Russia betraying the American constitution they swore to uphold? yes indeed.

            • earthworm says:

              The near-royal administration will have plenty of means to abuse power. Currently, 62 cents of every tax dollar goes to the military/homeland security, and 7 cents more for veterans’ costs.

          • Stacey Lyn says:

            I wonder if maybe pardoning Nixon “for the good of the country” was maybe not what future presidents needed in the way of lessons in how not to behave or for the rest of us in what not to tolerate! Watch us rinse and repeat that wrong lesson at the end of this.

            • P J Evans says:

              The lesson that the GOP learned from Watergate was to be sneakier and less-directly involved. (Note how many of those involved were also working in or for the Reagan and both Bush administrations.)

              • Savage Librarian says:

                Yes, I have been thinking about this for a long time. This is true.

                But in the bigger picture, just like many flora and fauna, maybe they (GOP) are just more hard wired for deception as a means of evolutionary survival. And the Dems are not. In the end, even if we’re practical, we’ll all (GOP & Dems) evolve ourselves to death.

                Nevertheless, carpe diem. Game on. Time to keep fighting the good fight.

  4. GRichter says:

    Since coordination with Wikileaks is not the same as coordination with the Russian government, is it possible that Mueller spun off the investigation of Stone’s Wikileaks contacts? Is it being handled by prosecutors elsewhere?

    • viget says:

      Not that I have any inside knowledge of this, but I think, and hope this is likely. Perhaps the Miller testimony can shed some light on this. Remember, the FBI already knows what Miller has to say, he just clammed up once he was subpoenaed by the GJ. The FBI had already interviewed him first.

      @emptywheel might have a better insight here…

      • emptywheel says:

        Right. I think it POSSIBLE, but I don’t think Mueller would have released the report until he was sure he wasn’t charging Stone w/conspiracy.
        So while I think it likely Stone gets superseded by the DC USAO (if he’s not pardoned first), I think whatever he’s on the possible hook for is something else.

        • viget says:


          When you say “conspiracy” do you mean ConFraudUS?

          I remember you did once post about Stone being vulnerable to conspiracy to committ CFAA violations, no? Perhaps that is still in play with Wikileaks/Assange and the DC Grand Jury?

  5. Blueride27 says:

    I’d say that Barr knows exactly this. If Mueller needed a smoking gun to really get past the Barr-blockade it was going to be either Manafort or Stone. Manafort lied while cooperating and somehow received a slap on the wrist and Stone has said multiple times he’d never talk. Wonder how the president knew they weren’t cooperating (joint defense agreement)? Where did I read that the bar Mueller’s team needed to clear was 85 percent?

  6. getouttahere says:

    This is awfully close to “shooting someone on fifth Avenue.”
    Are there no leakers at the DOJ?
    Will any of this — no matter how it turns — influence the next election?
    Barr, Elliot Abrams, REDUX. HFS!

      • Oldguy says:

        DOJ internal politics and bias, including threatened leaks as well as overt actions have clearly and profoundly changed the nature of our democracy, especially as abetted by the Republican Party and media institutions like The NY Times. Consider:

        Comey on July 5, 2016 publicly chastises Hillary on his announcement that she had broken no laws in use of private email server because he feared leaking by FBI New York field office. Subsequent reporting creates drumbeat of impropriety by Clinton, especially around handling of classified material, elevating it to significant campaign issue.

        On October 28th, Comey sends letter to Trey Gowdy, informing him that investigation is being reopened due to discovery of emails on Huma Abedine laptop. Letter is immediately released to media, creating firestorm that polls indicate moved the vote several points.

        On October 31, 2016, Eric Lichtblau uses FBI leaks to bullish “FBI s
        seesNo Clear Link” article.

        Finally, Barr, in the almost antisymmetric image of the of the Comey “no crime but bad stuff” pronouncement releases partisan summary essentially saying, “possibly crime but we will not pursue, and in a narrow range of definition, and we are not going to talk about bad stuff”. NY Times writes about great political victory for Trump, sets up “will Democrats be bad losers and begin to push this” meme. Despite the fact Trump’s campaign manager, lawyer and NSC advisor all guilty of related crimes, and Eliot Broidy, RNC Associate Finance chair is under indictment, Republicans go on offense, claim investigations were and will be treason.

        Instead of leaks, can we just pursue transparency? I am so tired of one side openly leaking, manipulating, bullying and whining.

        Thanks so much, Marcy, for your diligence.

        • Hika says:

          “On October 28th, Comey sends letter to Trey Gowdy …”
          I think that other weasel, Chaffetz, was the HOC Chairman at the time.

  7. SA says:

    The Weissman response to ABJ is so recent (Feb. 2019). Do you think it means:

    A – Mueller thought as recently as February 2019 that there was collusion and only gave up recently
    B – Mueller referred their Manafort/Kilimnik theory to USAO-DC/Barr, and Barr’s memo selectively excludes that fact

    From CNN:

    Judge Jackson pressed the special counsel’s office on its apparent obsession with Kilimnik’s efforts. “Why is that important?” she asked.

    Weissmann responded with an answer that’s still largely redacted in the court file. He began by saying, “Okay. So, I mean, this goes to the larger view of what we think is going on, and what we think the motive here is.” Kilimnik had a Russian intelligence connection, Weissmann reminded her. Then he turned to Manafort, saying, “There is an in-person meeting at an unusual time for somebody who is the campaign chairman to be spending time, and to be doing it in person. That meeting and what happened at that meeting is of significance to the special counsel.”

    • koolmoe says:

      I think that’s a solid insight. Examining related court transcripts for hints as to what’s in The Report could be revealing.

  8. jayedcoins says:

    Marcy (and the commentariat) — what do you make of the opinion of those saying they believe Barr’s summary, not out of credulity for Barr, but under the assumption Mueller and the rest of the SCO staff wouldn’t sit quietly by and allow Barr’s letter to misrepresent their findings?

    • CapeCodFisher says:

      Speculation. Nobody wants to believe or not believe Barr. They want to read the report themselves. Simple. What is there to hide except more clues about crimes/non-crimes..

    • viget says:

      Unfortunately, they will follow the law. They are not allowed to disclose Grand Jury materials under Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, and can be found in contempt of court for doing so (and thereby also be sanctioned by their respective Bar organizations as officers of the court).

      HOWEVER, that doesn’t mean that Mueller cannot state what his conclusions are, as long as he does not divulge GJ material. I would hope that Nadler and the HJC could craft a very carefully worded request to have Mueller testify to clarify the report’s conclusions. He might just do so if asked.

      IANAL, of course, so I demur to Bmaz and others to make sure I have this right.

      • bmaz says:

        Well, this is not totally right. GJ information is presumed secret presumed protected as such. There is a protocol for demonstrating need and getting permission from the chief judge overseeing the GJ to authorize release. Optimally Mueller himself would do this.

        • pjb says:

          My understanding is that it is a fairly regular occurrence that a federal prosecutors will obtain Court order to release 6(e) material when in the public interest to do so. Given the immense public interest here, that does not seem much of a lift. Also, to the extent the MR is bifurcated between “conspiracy” and “obstruction” it does not seem likely to me that the evidence obtained about obstruction will much implicate grand jury secret materials. Nor, for that matter, does it seem like it would involve much classified information. I frankly do not see a reason why at least the obstruction part cannot be released immediately.

          • bmaz says:

            Yes, there is a process, I have been explaining that for months, and at least twice on Twitter today. It is always b better when the government is the applicant, but other interested parties have been known to attempt it. I would think Congress and news orgs are sufficiently interested. Not sure there is necessarily not substantial 6e material in the obstruction portion though. And the release ought to be made in full, not piecemeal out where the full context can’t be determined.

        • BobCon says:

          Famously, Watergate grand jury info was released to Congress, although there is obviously no way things play out exactly the same now.

    • InfiniteLoop says:

      What would Mueller say? There’s presumably nothing factually incorrect in Barr’s summary, and its content was Barr’s call. Even if Mueller wanted to commit grossly worse insubordination than Comey, he’d likely have to speak about acts not charged as crimes and counterintelligence concerns to do it.

      Until we see the report or hear Mueller testify, the people who are best positioned to call out Barr’s omissions and weasel words are journalists, and the MSM is falling down on the job. Every time I see “no evidence” I want to scream.

  9. viget says:

    This “summary” business does not pass the smell test. If they want to remove Rule 6(e) material, fine, but let’s see the extent of the redactions. That’s what is normally done with sensitive government material.

    Also, I see no reason why Mueller’s conclusions IN FULL, cannot be presented to the public. They should not include GJ material, and it’s very deceptive to have partial quotations taken out of context.

    How much do you want to bet the rest of the sentence from the fragment quoted: “[t]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”, actually begins with the word “Although” and ends with a comma?

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Excellent points. A Barr-led DoJ’s summary would be no more reliable than Barr’s first take. Mueller’s own report is the best evidence. Where, how and how much is redacted from it is itself valuable information that should also be in the public domain. Select congressional committees should also have the complete report.

      • viget says:

        Thank you Earl. That is high praise coming from you.

        Also, something else bothering me about that sentence… it says “election interference activities”. Could the campaign have “coordinated” on public policy considerations, sanctions relief, infrastructure considerations? Perhaps members of the campaign recruited other candidates for state and Federal office to discuss “policy concerns” with the Russian Gov’t?

        Not saying these are necessarily crimes, but then it makes you wonder if the Trump campaign begins to cross the line into acting as an agent of Russia?

    • Fran of the North says:

      I like your interpretation of that sentence. I’m on needles and pins awaiting more information.

  10. Tim Tuttle says:

    Once again America has been fully scammed by an illegitimate President. I look forward to the day I wake up and this collective nightmare is finally over.

    In the meantime perhaps Mueller could simply hold a fucking press conference and clear this mess up.

    Enough of the Marine chain of command excuse: just tell us THE TRUTH.

    • Sandwichman says:

      Spoiler alert: he won’t. Mueller’s job was to protect “the institutions.” To refute Barr in any way would not just be to refute Barr but would bring the whole chain of command, separation of powers, rule of law edifice into disrepute. But Trump would not disappear in a puff of smoke. Pulling down the temple is not in his remit and it is not in his character. He is a Republican.

          • CCM says:

            Quote from Mueller, “Discipline should be imposed on basis of the specific nature of the player’s conduct, not solely on disposition of a criminal case.” So NFL players are held to a higher standard than the President. Time to say it. Mueller choked in the crucible of an intense historical moment. Barr did what he told the world he would do, defend the president. Mueller’s silence is complicity.

              • CCM says:

                Quote was from report for NFL re: Ray Rice. Not making a determination about obstruction after firsthand observation of witnesses and evidence and punting to Barr who was AG for a hot minute and took just hours to review the report is a choke. If Barr’s judgement is something you agree with put it in writing. If he disagrees issue a dissent

      • Stacey Lyn says:

        At some point all of this ‘protecting the institutions’ crap starts to feel like shuffling pedophile priests around to protect the church, fundamentalist preachers telling abused women God doesn’t want them to divorce the bastard, and some bizarre arguments against showing the public what our military has done in our name. At the end of that day, you’ve protected the institution from its own shadow which if pulled into the light might have made the institution worth saving. My generation just has no patience for that kind of bullshit! The flaws in that strategy should be patently obvious by now to all of us, should they not?

        • Tech Support says:

          There’s nothing about dismissing the social value of institutions that’s unique to “your” generation.

          That said it’s worth acknowledging that the social value of institutions are not guaranteed nor inevitable. Corruption and stasis are each more than capable of eroding the benefits that we might expect.

          It’s my guess that Mueller understands this and is not content to ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ and watch two years of his life’s most important work get swept under the rug. It’s also my guess that he recognizes that this is a “marathon and not a sprint” to abuse a euphemism and we should not assume his ongoing silence is a sign of capitulation.

  11. TheraP says:

    Please delete this if it’s not in line with this blog’s policies or preferences, but:

    WHERE is the Patriot willing to be a whistleblower? WHERE is the person willing to put transparency before job, liberty, reputation (in the short term) – to provide the Mueller Report, which, as Marcy so well delineates above, must contain PROOF that Barr’s summary is a despicable, prevaricating effort to Obstruct Justice and prevent the Congress from doing it’s own assessment of whether or not Mueller has found evidence that requires an impeachment?

    Undoubtedly, to my mind anyway, the report also contains other unknown, quite possibly damning evidence of wrongdoing by an unfit pResident. Evidence which might also require impeachment of the AG? And Trump?

    I say “undoubtedly” because otherwise Barr would not be whitewashing and hiding the Truth.

    Somebody out there is listening. To me. To our nation.

    • Sandwichman says:

      “WHERE is the Patriot willing to be a whistleblower?”

      And how is that “whistleblower” thingy working out for Edward Snowden? Reality Winner? Chelsea Manning? Julian Assange? Glenn Greenwald?

      The whole amateur spy game turns out to not result in some happily-ever-after Utopia of transparency and accountability but various shades of punishment and betrayal. Turns out there are professional spies out there who have thought long and hard about how to handle leaks and leakers.

      • TheraP says:

        Oh, ye, of little faith!

        There are people who put Republic and Constitution and Ethics over the risks that whistleblowing entails. (I speak from both personal experience and spousal experience. The whistleblower pays a price, yes, but considers the worth – and risks – of reporting versus the alternative risks/downsides of doing nothing.)

        Many saints have willingly gone to their deaths in view of their beliefs. There are saints among us. Even now. We’ll have wait and see.

        • Sandwichman says:

          There is a world of difference between being a hero and wanting a hero. The former is hard and frequently unrewarding; the latter is easy and vicariously satisfying. Superficially, it may seem that the two “are on the same side.” It only seems that way to the wannabees.

      • foggycoast says:

        being a patriot can also mean doing the right thing regardless of the consequences. think ellsberg.

    • Jockobadger says:

      Great work as usual MW! It’s a fine nutshell version of what I bet we’d find if we had the real Mueller Report and all the backup materials. I’m convinced that there were numerous instances of “coordination” with various unsavory russkie actors, whether part of the “Russian government” – whatever that is these days – or not. Apparently Barr had three weeks to carefully parse and snip and twist away to concoct his Sunday summary and we got lipstick on a pig. Now we’re told that he and his crew at DOJ are going to write yet another “summary.” This one will be of the full Mueller Report for submittal to Congress rather than the report itself (once properly redacted.) I wouldn’t trust anything Barr writes – the man is more full of poop than a 10 pound robin. A “summary” is unacceptable, but what can we do about it?

      This probably is a dumb idea, but would it be possible to request the report (with all of the GJ, IC means/methods, etc., properly redacted out) via the FOIA? Or would we just get a stack of black pages back? Or a denial based on some BS privilege claim? I’m sure someone’s already done it anyway – hope so.

      Like TheraP, I’m very hopeful that a patriotic insider gets ahold of the real McCoy and dumps it on-line or gives it to someone like Pelosi. The problem with that is trump would just claim it’s not real – Fake News, folks! I bet there’s a way to check provenance. A colleague of mine just moved his family up to Abbottsford, B.C. Couldn’t take it anymore. I’m hanging on for 2020 and for the first time in my life I’m actually getting involved locally – though given local progressive politics, there aren’t a lot of folks around here that need convincing. Doing it anyway. Boys are off at college and I have the time. Would you consider getting Venmo or is that too dangerous for you? Just a notion. I can use paypal again.

  12. Yogarhythms says:

    Barr is overly protective of unitary area man. Barr has found new reason to ensure electoral winner shields Mueller report from public/legislative view ensuring his legacy as the most influential and brilliant Sycophantic/AG of this century except Dr. Ew is pulling threads or loosening corner stones cracking facade of hate. Vote Nov. 2020

  13. Jenny says:

    Thank you Marcy. Barr not releasing the full report. However, Starr gleefully released the Clinton report to the public. Even put it on the internet.

    Barr opposing the invalidation of the ACA by WH. Will he stay or will he go?

    • viget says:

      While that puts paid to my quid-pro-quo theory (provide cover for Mueller report in exchange for gutting the ACA), that makes me happy. Perhaps Barr is only doing the minimum necessary to keep Trump at bay. I’m not saying I totally believe it, but then again, if Barr was totally on board with Trump, don’t you think he would have stayed silent about the whole ACA thing? Alex Azar is also not on board apparently…

      The best news I’ve heard since March 22nd came today though… USAO DC confirms a very “ROBUST” GJ investigation is still continuing with the Mueller GJ. (emphasis mine)

      I hope they will get some Andrew Miller testimony soon. And documents from QIA (oops… I mean mystery appellant).

  14. Kenneth Ashford says:

    I follow you. But the loop isn’t quite closed. Is there any illegality in coordinating with Wikileaks on the timing of (rather than the fact of) the Podesta email release? What criminal statute governs?

    • RWood says:

      Have that question as well.

      Also, how does one prove that Stones actions did in fact influence the election? Or is it sufficient to prove that that was their intent, whether it actually achieved the results they wished to see or not?

      • PieIsDamnGood says:

        I think illegal campaign donation and/or cooperation would cover Stone and wikileaks. But don’t really know…

  15. Frank says:

    IANAL, if Mr. Mueller were to resign his employment tomorrow, is there a wealthy donor willing to cover his full retirement benefits (or better)? Could Ms. Pelosi then offer him a honorary position as chief adviser to the SOTH?

    • BobCon says:

      I suspect it comes down to this. The big question for me is how forthcoming Mueller is under oath. I don’t think he will stonewall, and I don’t think he will volunteer everything he knows, but where he ends up in the middle of all that, I don’t know.

      I also suspect there will be a huge fight over classification, with Trump classifying giant swaths of information in an overly broad manner to delay what comes out and hamper testimony.

      On the other hand, the House can use its immunity power to help protect witnesses, although not from everything a witness might face. Christine Blasey Ford didn’t even need immunity, but she still paid a big price for testifying.

      • Willis Warren says:

        Which is why we need someone who knows what the fuck is going on to write the questions. The Cohen testimony was hijacked with jackassery between real questions, and Mueller will be buried in bs

      • Tech Support says:

        I would imagine that Mueller would be most likely to disclose details to the greatest depth and breadth possible in closed testimony before an Intelligence Committee. Is it any surprise then that the GOP has been relentless in attacking Adam Schiff then?

  16. Tom says:

    During his confirmation hearing, Barr also spoke of himself as being an older man in the twilight of his working life who no longer had to worry about the future of his professional career. The implication was that he was a man who could be depended upon to carry out his duties and responsibilities without fear or favour of his superiors. But instead of falling on his sword for the good of his country, he meekly tugs his forelock to Trump on the basis of his “l’etat c’est moi” view of the Presidency. Do Barr and other Trump enablers not have any sense of history? Do they not care about how their families, their descendants, their fellow countrymen will think of them in years to come? Do they not want to be remembered as people who showed they had ‘the Right Stuff’ when the nation needed them? It’s not as if Barr or the others around Trump or his supporters in Congress aren’t going to be able to land on their feet if they’re cast out of the fold. None of them will starve. What’s the point of being in government if not to serve your country and leave a good name behind? I find the mentality of Barr and the rest totally baffling.

    • Bri2k says:

      Barr does care about his family. His kids both have jobs in the administration. He’s been bought & paid for. My guess is the ACA kerfluffle is just more kabuki theater.

  17. InfiniteLoop says:

    To add to Marcy’s points, the GRU indictment claims that WikiLeaks “coordinated” with GRU front Guccifer 2.0. WikiLeaks DMed Guccifer 2.0 on June 18, 2016 to say, “Send any new material here for us to review and it will have a much higher impact than what you are doing.” On July 14, Guccifer 2.0 complied.

    (There’s also reason to suspect WikiLeaks knew Guccifer 2.0 was a Russian front and/or “coordinated” directly with Russia.

  18. Charles says:

    I am of two minds about this. On the one hand, Barr and Mueller know each other well. I don’t know if they are friends: many of us have had to be cordial with people with whom we would very much rather not work. If Mueller were convinced that Trump coordinated with the Russians through an intermediary, it’s difficult to believe that he would let Barr bury that. Even if it’s not a prosecutable crime, a compromised president would represent an unprecedented danger to the US. Suppressing knowledge of that would represent the kind of disloyalty that one doubts Mueller would accept. Barr may not be (is not) honorable, but we Mueller seems to be so. Barr presumably would know that he would not get away with it for long. So either this scenario does not obtain or Barr is taking the gamble of a lifetime–one he is almost certain to lose.

    Another scenario that I wonder about is whether Mueller knows of something that will happen to expose Barr’s duplicity. In that scenario, he gives Barr enough rope on which to hang his reputation, and waits for the trapdoor to open. That something could be as simple as an invitation for Mueller to testify to the House. It could be a case that is percolating quietly through the system. Perhaps Mueller knows someone in the intelligence community is willing to divulge highly classified information to prevent Trump from getting away with conspiracy. It could even be a journalistic investigation.

    I don’t see any problem with Mueller answering questions about his report. Questions can be framed in such a manner to avoid touching on Grand Jury testimony, compromising existing cases, or even mentioning specific persons. For example, “Is it your opinion, Mr. Mueller, that the Russian government has leverage over the president?” Or “In your opinion, Mr. Mueller, is there substantial evidence that an individual(s) associated with Trump discussed providing something of value to the Russian government either directly or through an intermediary?” A “yes” to either one would put political pressure on Barr.

    • Rugger9 says:

      I really don’t think that the Palace can avoid stepping on rakes when its “summary” goes to Congress. The House committees will use it as an opening to invite Mueller over for a series of chats, even it is only to go down the list and ask for each one: “did you really say this in your report?”.

    • CCM says:

      I have heard Barr an RM are personal friends. I suspect Barr told RM to have a report on his desk by a date certain. Seems odd RM would finish without reviewing all the Stone documents, finishing mystery indictment, Interviews of Tump, Jr etc. RM being a good bureaucrat finished prematurely. He needs to testify before HIC

  19. Watson says:

    Maddow et al weren’t wrong about Trump, but they were wrong to lionize prosecutors and to deify Mueller.

    • P J Evans says:

      That’s nice. No one here was saying that Mueller was a deity. A lot of us were reading ew when she was following Libby’s case.

    • dwfreeman says:

      This is so true. Mueller never used his subpoena authority to seek a personal interview of Trump despite seeking responses on 16 areas of concern to his investigation. And that to me is the most telling failure of whatever he uncovered and his findings show whether provable as crimes or not. Maybe he thought it was futile and would drag out the probe beyond a reasonable time, but he actually set a date for the meeting which Trump’s lawyers were never going to permit. Still, going for it would have covered his ass in terms of an all-out inquiry.

      From start to finish, this was a Republican operation. The Democrats and the resistance movement to Trump only accepted Mueller as the investigator in charge because his reputation was that of a straight-shooter. But if he allows his work to be tainted by a Republican party legal hack for hire, who has buried GOP scandal before (see Barr’s funeral work in Iran-Contra) then he is no better than the people who oversaw his work and put him on task to start.

      The Republicans in connection with this investigation sought and were given access to records and information they were never statutorily or publicly entitled to see and conducted hearings seeking to challenge and undermine the opening of this probe going so far as to obfuscate information and then reporting it to potential targets in the case in what amounted to broad daylight obstruction by elected officials.

      The reason Mueller was hired as special counsel was because Trump fired his own FBI director and then bragged a day later about doing so to a group of Russians meeting alone and privately in the Oval Office during which he allegedly blabbed about top secret information. He reportedly told his Russian compatriots that firing Comey took the pressure off him. And none of this seems to matter.

      • P J Evans says:

        I don’t think that interviewing Tr*mp himself would have been of any use to Mueller’s investigation. Tr*mp would have been able to claim he didn’t know anything about it,, whether he was lying or not – because everything he told them to do would have been nudges and winks and indirectly-expressed orders, none of which would have been useful in court.

      • bmaz says:

        Do you understand what subpoenaing Trump would have entailed?? It would have been fought tooth and nail all the way through the Supreme Court, and taken a year and a half at least. And then Trump would, after all that, have taken the Fifth because there is not a chance in hell his lawyers would let him testify under oath. It was a smart tactical decision not to bugger up the process with all that.

        • pjb says:

          I still find the “it would have set the investigation back a year or more” to be an insufficient reason not to seek Trump’s oral responses to obstruction questions. Many of Trump’s obstructive acts were in full view or were reported upon and perhaps there were some Mueller found that we don’t know about. But it appears that the main reason Mueller did not charge obstruction (and did not exonerate) is that he did not have sufficient evidence of his corrupt intent. To me, notwithstanding the delays and obfuscations, he had to take all necessary investigative steps to determine Trump’s criminal intent. Further, the idea that Trump would have, in the end, taken 5, is uncertain to me (he does not always listen to his lawyers and might actually be loathe to be considered a criminal or mobster as he famously said are the only folks who take 5). And, if he did in the end assert his 5th Amendment rights, that would be an important consideration for Congress (and through Congress, the electorate) when Mueller (or his successor) did eventually punt the ball to Congress.

          • bmaz says:

            You are on some serious hallucinogens if you think Trump was ever going to sit for a formal interview or answer under oath to the GJ. NEVER would have happened. And I have news for you, criminal intent gets proved by circumstantial evidence in every court every day. People who say intent could only be established with testimony of Trump either are batshit, or don’t have a clue what they are talking about.

            • pjb says:

              No, it is not news to me that criminal intent is regularly made by circumstantial evidence and I certainly haven’t said that. Here, however, it appears Mueller found the circumstantial evidence he uncovered to be insufficient to charge a crime – he needed more.

              I am not a delicate flower but I don’t really see the necessity of such aggressive language. I readily concede Trump might in the end take 5. Certainly his lawyers would all but prostrate themselves before the gj box to remonstrate against it. But, he’s so full of his own bs, he just might. And, once my serious hallucinogens wear off, and I see he has taken the 5th as anyone in his position reasonably should, that would be useful for Congress to know when Mueller then punts it to them for further investigation or impeachment. And, important for us all to know in considering our 2020 candidates.

            • Tech Support says:

              It is my sincerest hope that nobody, and I mean NOBODY who is on serious hallucinogens gives the briefest thought to the presidency or the investigation.

              (Then proceeds to put on an Enya album and pours a glass a milk for anyone who might need it.)

        • RWood says:

          Fully expect my head to come away from my neck here, but I’m going to disagree anyway. If only to educate myself in a bizarre S/M manner.

          I say this not from any lawyers view as I am not one, but more from a PR point-of-view. Would not the daily act of Trump avoiding the subpoena be on every front page for that year and half? It would hang around his neck for all to see everyday, and that in itself would speak volumes. I said this elsewhere here at EW, but sometimes the battle for the issue is a better thing to have than a winning of that issue.

          As for the fifth, yes, I can certainly see his lawyers instructing him to do so. But does Trump have the ability? I don’t think he does. Again, not a lawyer, but I’m under the impression that one can not just mail in a fifth amendment claim. He would still have to sit and answer the questions, and if the right ones were tossed at him I doubt he could keep himself from exploding into a rather loud and self-discriminating rant.

          But if Mueller didn’t issue a subpoena simply because if was too hard or would take too long? Well, why did we put any faith in the outcome of his investigation in the first place?

          Headsman strike true!

          • bmaz says:

            Doubtful, it would just be off in court with briefing, oral argument, appeal, more briefing, oral argument and then petition for cert.

            Frankly, I think Trump would make far better hay and publicity out of that than team Mueller would. It would be a very easy argument to whine about “excess” over. And when you will never get testimony out of him, it was a silly exercise that Mueller predictably, and correctly, decided against.

            Adding, if you cannot charge Trump anyway because of DOJ regulations, and he could not, then it simply was not necessary.

            • RWood says:

              Thanks for the lesson, minus the axe.

              You raise another with your reply though. (I seem to be in a button-pushing/self-destructive mood today)

              Thanks to you and others here I find myself being drawn to key words. Regulation is one. Others are Norm, Policy, Issue, Protocol, etc. With one side operating as if these words had weight, and the other blatantly ignoring them, it’s become harder to understand what has teeth and what doesn’t.

              If I were planning a case against this president, I think one of the first things I would do is toss out anything that doesn’t have any teeth first, and then plan accordingly. Example: In another thread you advised not to worry about Barr interfering in the SDNY investigations. My thoughts went immediately to: What is there to stop him? Is there actual law on the books preventing him from doing so, or are there only norms and protocols, the likes of which he can ignore at will?

              • Hika says:

                Therein lies the true lesson for the republic (or maybe the next one) in the McConnell/Trump era.

        • Callender says:

          I remember Watergate. I remember they expedited the USSC review of Nixon’s “smoking gun” tapes.

          It took weeks, not years.

          It’s silly to think it would take a year or year and a half.

        • Callender says:

          I looked it up because I thought I remembered it, and I was right. Nixon’s case didn’t take a year and a half to get to the Supreme Court. It took 4 months.

          Leon Jaworski subpoenaed the Nixon tapes in April of 74 and the USSC ruled Nixon had to turn them over (unanimously) in August of that same year.

          The appeal went directly to the USSC.

          • bmaz says:

            That was action under a different law, in a far different time and with a far different courts dynamic. To think that would happed now is nuts.

            • dwfreeman says:

              Well, regardless of legal hurdles in pushing for an interview by subpoena, a date for one was actually set by Mueller, which means that regardless of whether he expected resistance and delay, and may have doubted it would have ever taken place, it didn’t prevent him from making the request serious enough to schedule it for Jan. 27, 2018.

              Because of Trump’s lawyers fears that such an interview would be a”perjury trap,” a subpoena battle over the issue would have likely ensued and Mueller didn’t want to waste time over it. So be it.

              Mueller made a number of choices which you might agree with or question, the fact is in this case, he didn’t go all-in to hear from Trump directly, for which he had the authority to do so. And whatever it’s value or likelihood, it would have been better than getting written answers to questions, and there is no question about that, regardless of the ultimate legal outcome.

              It certainly wouldn’t have altered the White House view of the Mueller investigation or the fact that, in the end, this was a complete Republican scandal from birth to Barf’s eulogy, however long that was delayed.

              • bmaz says:

                Seriously, I am just tired of this horseshit:

                1) If you can provide evidence there was ever really a firm date, other than a joke, for January 27, 2018, post it now or just stop with this nonsense. I know for a fact that you cannot. And, therefore, this strung out bullshit reinforces what I am saying, not the bleating shit it all could have happened.

                2) You are seriously repeating the ignorant “perjury trap” crap here? Really??? Stop.

                3) This is the same lame ass horse manure I have responded to from dopes all day. It is still idiotic.

                4) You do not know jack about how the delay would have played out. And you are talking out of your ass to say you do.

                This is really tiring. Do you have anything else?

              • P J Evans says:

                I’m pretty sure that the written answers that Tr*mp provided were full of lies, and were part of what got Manafort in deeper trouble. And I’m certain that Mueller was expecting that, and it’s part of why he didn’t try for a personal session (besides the years of demonstrations that Tr*mp can’t tell the same story twice, even in one interview).

                • timbo says:

                  Were they full of lies? Or were they just burning people like Cohen, Stone, and possibly even Manafort? What I’m suggesting is that you are perhaps underestimating how much of an undercutter Trump and his lawyers really are. The fact that Stone and Manafort may be hoping for a pardon also means the Trump can tell the truth and then pardon them for any instance where they’ve been convicted of crimes they committed or even plead to as a result. This is the power of the pardon writ large. The President can have underlings doing all sorts of illegal crap, lie about it, and, as long as the President tells the truth when under oath, the President can pardon anyone who participated in shennanigans on behalf of the President. At least for violations of Federal laws that is very likely the case…

      • Rayne says:

        Please do cite the successful court cases the Special Counsel’s Office could have relied upon to back up a subpoena a lifelong scofflaw would recognize and honor.

        I’m sure more than a few of us would also like to know how you, if you were SCO, would prevent the same lifelong scofflaw from using a year-plus-long dispute over a subpoena to build public sympathy on which to campaign for 2020.

        I won’t hold my breath while waiting, though.

        • Paul Bazil says:

          with all respect, I don’t understand why you think Mueller’s primary concern is to prevent Trump from building public sympathy from which to campaign (and, I”m not conceding stonewalling would build public sympathy, i just have no idea). He’s not a DNC strategist, his job is to investigate. He needs a piece of evidence (Trump’s intent) to do his job properly and he has a way of seeking it (subpoena). I don’t see public sympathy to be any better justification than passage of time. Both might be negatives, but cannot obviate his core mission.

          • bmaz says:

            Have you been reading here? If you think Mueller just HAD TO HAVE testimony from Trump to make intent, you are crazy. Prosecutors almost never have that from defendants and intent is met every hour of every day with circumstantial evidence, of which there is an abundance in this case. Similarly if you think the subpoena path was going to yield sworn testimony, you are also crazy.

            • pjb says:

              one last time despite the epithets. You say there is an abundance of circumstantial evidence in this case. I agree. However, Mueller evidently (cautious here as we have only Barr’s slanted memo) did not feel that evidence was sufficient to charge a crime. He had a way to get more or at least try. He didn’t. You say it would have been futile and dilatory. It would have been the latter certainly. The former is uncertain and as I wrote above, Trump’s 5A assertion would have yielded important information if Mueller was going to punt to Congress for a political consideration.

              • bmaz says:

                One last time right back at you. You are spewing bullshit. Also, apparently, continue to harbor the belief that it was necessary for “intent”, which is also complete bullshit. You can spew this till the cows come home, and it will remain pure unadulterated bullshit. Thanks for wasting my time.

                • pjb says:

                  You are not only being unnecessarily nasty but are being a bit obtuse. Anyone reading this thread will see that I obviously never said you “need” a witness’s testimony to prove criminal intent. I said Mueller evidently did not feel the circumstantial evidence was sufficient to charge the crime. I also said that whether Trump testified or didn’t (and took 5) was useful information either way, given his election to punt to Congress. So, all that is left is your argument that Trump would have won a pr war by claiming overreach. Maybe that’s a good reason, but I am not yet convinced. We shall have to agree to disagree, amicably I hope.

                  • timbo says:

                    If Mueller has an opinion from the DOJ with regard to whether or not he can indict a sitting President that says he cannot then how would he handle his report and prosecutions? The rumor is that that is the official opinion of some within the DOJ at the moment. Kapische?

          • Rayne says:

            It’s not SCO’s job to manage the politics. But it’s the SCO’s job to avoid screwing up their own investigation and prosecution by doing that which will least bollux their work. Imagine as Trump builds more sympathy that Mitch McConnell decides to hold more hearings to harass the SCO’s office while using the taxpayers’ dime to provide what is little more than free campaigning for the GOP.

            Benghazi 2.0, if you will. You can see they are already priming themselves to revisit that effort with Lindsey Graham insisting he wants to reinvestigate Hillary Clinton’s emails. Imagine if instead Graham — who is running for re-election in 2020 as is Mitch McConnell — decided to treat the SCO’s investigation like Benghazi or Clinton’s emails.

            How much progress do you think would be made by SCO then?

            • pjb says:

              I suppose I am uncertain that support would necessarily have broken for Trump as against. But, you may well be right about how it would play out – I am no expert. In any case, thanks for the civil response. I think the question of whether Mueller was justified (or strategic) in not trying to force Trump to testify is at least a good faith, open question. it was never my intent to “spew bullshit” or waste anyone’s time, as BMAZ has accused me of.

              • Rayne says:

                The good faith effort was made in negotiating a written response, and all the good faith was on the part of the SCO. The problem is a bad faith presidency, period.

              • timbo says:

                The Congress and the Supreme Court of the United States can compel a President to testify. It’s unclear that any other parts of the government can do so legally. In order for the DOJ to compel a President to be truthful in an inquiry, turn over evidence, etc, etc, there would at the very least some sort of legal standing from the aforementioned branches to do so. In addition, there is no longer an Independent prosecutor statute that removes SCO investigations from substantial oversight by the AG’s office and/or DoJ internal rules.

      • Watson says:

        I was using ‘Maddow et al’ as a stand-in for the SCLM. I was not referring to MW or anyone here. That was imprecise of me. Apologies.

        I stand by my opinion that the SCLM in its Trump coverage has lionized prosecutors and deified Mueller. Their panels have been largely composed of former prosecutors who have invariably referred to Mueller in worshipful tones. YMMV but I’m not impressed with the performance/outcomes of these stewards of our criminal justice system.

  20. orionATL says:

    how could anyone be surprised at Barr’s protecting a Republican president by misrepresenting the thrust of the office of special counsel report? what else would you expect him to do?

    the only surprise – and disappointment – to me was the ineffectiveness of the senatorial democrats opposition to barr. their criticism just did not leave a mark.

    • getouttahere says:

      Surprised at the inefficacy of Senate Democrats?
      Clarence Thomas, John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, Merrick Garland, Alberto Gonzalez, Michael Mukasey . . . .
      Even when they had the filibuster the Senate Democrats were ineffective.

      • P J Evans says:

        That’s a nice list of GOP-T legal types, and their relevance to whatever point you were trying to make didn’t show up.

        • getouttahere says:

          I thought it was obvious. Guess not.
          The point is that the Senate Democrats have always been ineffectual at blocking disastrous judicial appointments (and were ineffectual at responding to the Garland disaster) and therefore one should not have been surprised at the Senate Democrats’ impotency on Barr.

          • P J Evans says:

            I love people who can’t tell “always” from “while I’ve been following this in the news”. /snark
            The Ds have had a majority in the senate for about a year in the last 15 – and that was like by one or two votes. What the FUCK do you think they could have done, especially when they had three or four senators, at least, who tend to vote R because it’s easier than sticking their necks out?

              • Rayne says:

                Don’t go any further with this line. Seriously. It doesn’t take a partisan to understand the numbers simply haven’t been there. It does take someone who can do the math, however, which appears to be your weak spot.

                • timbo says:

                  Thank you for pointing out that that sort of trollery is not appreciated on these shores. I refrain from drawing any further conclusions about “getouttahere”‘s actual purpose in stoking such didactic nonsense.

          • Rayne says:

            That is one of the more ignorant comments I have read here in a while. You’re clearly uninformed — or willfully so — about the headcount by party in the Senate over the last two decades, let alone understand the variable degree to which non-GOP senators may vote with or against the GOP.

            And how exactly do you think the Garland nomination could have been changed for a better outcome in the face of blatant bad faith by a majority party? Do tell.

            • getouttahere says:

              Yes, the Garland nomination was dead on arrival, but I am of the opinion that the Dems took the outlandish power-grab of McConnell refusing to even consider the nomination without taking other action, e.g. bringing all Senate business to a halt. Perhaps that was the time to mount a full-scale attack on the potent poison that is the Senate Majority leader. I am not advocating violating legitimate principles, but the Dems in my ‘umble o, have not fought fire with fire. (Unlike what the present House of Reps finally seem to be doing.)
              Math is neither my weak spot nor my strong spot, but its not hard to count to 100. I am well aware of the weak/scared/blue dog votes in the party, but that unfortunately is one of the problems of the party.
              My point was simply that given all that — the numbers, that certain Dems cant be counted on to vote against certain Repub nominees (and yes, the reluctance not to use the filibuster against either Roberts or Alito) that one should not have been surprised at the ineffectiveness of the Senate Democrats against the Barr nomination.
              (As to the more distant past, the torture apologist Mukasey’s nomination was voted favorably out of committee by virtue of Schumer’s vote in favor of him. Biden as chairman of the jud. committee did not call ready and willing witnesses against Thomas. Yes there are some very good Dem Senators on the Jud C. (alas poor Franken) but their record has not been stellar and therefore while disappointment vis-a-vis Barr is very understandable and warranted, I was just expressing my surprise at one being surprised. Forgive me if I have sinned.

              • Bri2k says:

                Your sin amounts to victim blaming so there’s that. The silver lining is you’ve outed yourself as a disingenuous commenter I can skip past.

              • Rayne says:

                You expose how inactive you are in politics at local level when you don’t understand the politics of states like Montana, West Virginia, so on. Pick a state like WV — are there viable Dem candidates willing to raise money and run against Joe Manchin? Can they pull enough votes to win in the primary? Can they keep the senate seat against a GOP candidate in coal country? What if the vote for a SCOTUS candidate is already dead in the water because the anticipated vote is 51/49 — should the existing moderate senator from WV burn bridge with centrist Dems in his state on this vote? Imagine there are several seats like this.

                The problem is that the Dems have not been able to win 2/3rds of the Senate seats while producing credible opponents to weak GOP senators. Until they can there will be this ongoing obstruction from the Senate.

                John Dingell (RIP) advocated for abolishing the Senate because of the disproportionate representation senate seats provide rural and small states. It would certainly improve the calculus when it comes to approving SCOTUS seats if representation was truly proportional. And yet you haven’t even noted this is the crux of the problem.

                • getouttahere says:

                  yup. real problems needing local solutions.
                  i am admirer of smart folks like tom sullivan (on Hullabaloo.) i make most of my (modest) political $ contributions locally and my calls are on behalf of local candidates.
                  i tried to express two things: that given the situation in the senate, one should not have been surprised at the outcome of the Barr nomination – a fairly innocuous comment — and i also noted those times when i thought the dems could have done better as to judicial nominations.
                  if it makes anyone feel good to use ad hominems or to twist my words, i can’t help that. i come here for the good analysis and i had hoped for good faith discussions.

    • orionATL says:

      getouttahere –

      you missed my point completely, perhaps because my comment was ambiguous, but I’d guess as much because of your attitude.

      the point is that democratic objections to barr were not taken seriously. whether Barr’s history as a Republican cover-up artist was brought to light by democratic political opponents are not, that history should have led reporters and commenters to question the president’s motives in choosing barr specifically as well as Barr’s objectivity and fitness for office. the obvious conclusion is that Barr was being appointed ag for a specific reason – to protect President Trump and the Republican party by dismembering and deep-sixing the Mueller report.

      now, barely a month after he lied his way thru confirmation, barr has begun doing exactly what he was sent to do – to bury the Mueller report. as I predicted, barr is using various forms of lawyerly lying to carry out his mission. again, as with the earlier democratic objections to presumed neutrality and objectivity on Barr’s part, the media seem to take no serious notice of the extreme partisanship barr exhibited with g.h.w. Bush’s granting of pardon’s that destroyed the culmination of Lawrence walsh’s Iran-contra investigation.

      history is repeating itself now:

      “… President Bush was the first President to grant a pardon on the eve of a trial. The question before Independent Counsel was, and remains, whether President Bush exercised his constitutional prerogative to pardon a former close associate to prevent further Iran/contra revelations. In the absence of evidence that the pardon was secured by corruption, Independent Counsel decided against taking the matter before the Grand Jury…” from part ii above

      as for my objection to the democratic effort against barr in the senate, it is that senators should have laid down in the road – made a hell of a row – rather than just politely stating their objections to barr. it should be clear now to any observer that the contemporary Republican party will first seize and then cling to power using any means or pretext available, and that to rid the nation of this flagrantly dishonest and felonious party is going to require an overwhelming vote of the nation. for that to occur, the citizenry has to be informed, loudly and repeatedly, about republican trickery and dishonesty.

      • P J Evans says:

        It doesn’t help that McTurtle – pardon me, McConnell – is ignoring all the Dem objections to nominees, even those that are traditionally honored, like blue slips. I’m not sure if he really thinks that the GOP-T can maintain its majority forever, or if he plans to burn the house to the ground (figuratively, I hope!) before giving up any of the power they’ve stolen and are misusing.

        • Tech Support says:

          I think it’s a perverse combination of the two. Do everything possible to protect your narrowing constituency’s tenuous grip on power, and if in the end you still face defeat, burn it all to the ground.

      • orionATL says:

        of all the things said or done by those involved since the office of special counsel report was released on Saturday, the one I find most contemptible and most likely to be a source of gross error, historical embarrassment and misleading reporting is the behavior of the top tier print media like the New York times and the Washington post. within 48 hours these editors and reporters had conveyed the opinion as fact that there was little of substance to the belief that the trump campaign and Russia had collaborated and that the democratic party had “lost” and the Republican party had “won” the “Mueller investigation” game.

        this simple-minded gloss of a complex history of multi-person interaction between the campaign and private persons associated with the Russian government is an astonishing, shameful indication of editorial and reportorial ignorance. as things stand five days later, the summary of the reporting to date would seem to be, “o.k., let’s move on now. it’s all over.” further, democratic party leaders in Congress who know damn well there is a huge story of improper political behavior being hidden with the help of this gloss and who intend to follow up on the report’s release with intensive congressional investigations are being tacitly encouraged to sit down and shut up.

        does that remind you of anything in our recent history of presidential elections? it does me.

        remember the media pressure that al gore was put under once
        the “Bush won by 500 votes in florida” was decided? I do. as it turned out, a fair and complete recount would have indicated gore won by a margin of tens of thousands of votes in Florida; this was a stolen election. chances are good the 2016 election was another stolen election. statewide margins of 500, 1200, and 1700 out of millions are statistically meaningless and as suggestive of fraud as of a close victory.

        you would never guess any of this were you to summarize the simple message sent out to the citizenry since last Saturday by the high priests of print reporting.

      • getouttahere says:

        Orion ATL,
        I appreciate the clarification. I did read your comment as being that you were surprised at the results – the results were negligible – of the Democrats’ efforts to stop Barr. I agree — wholeheartedly — that they should have tried to do more, though I realize the very strong odds were against them. I also agree that what Barr has now done was just what was feared he’s do. (Leoards/sots.) My further point was that this wasn’t the first time that the Dems didn’t do what I thought they should have done to oppose awful judicial nominations or that they should have done something drastic in the face of McConnell’s egregious and anti-democratic treatment of the Garland nomination. So on that basis, no surprise. Agreed: history repeats itself and those that . . . etc, etc.
        I don’t pretend to have made my points eloquently, but I was taken aback because it seemed that the reaction my criticism of the Dems garnered was as if I had said something heretical.
        So if I displayed an “attitude” it was reactive to that.
        I’m not sure what you think my attitude was or is. I certainly didn’t begin my comment having an “attitude.”
        I did respond with some defensiveness and some sarcasm to what I considered an onslaught that I didn’t quite understand. However, I don’t think I displayed any “attitude” in my initial comment. I think that assumptions about another’s attitudes – especially assumptions based on a few sentences – are easily mistaken and can get in the way of reasonable discourse.

        • timbo says:

          You didn’t say something that was heretical. You said something that came across as pointedly ignorant.

            • timbo says:

              Or should I just continue to project my need to be right in such a way that I negate your humanity and individuality?

        • orionATL says:

          getouttahere –

          thank you for the additional views. i doubt we are that far apart. what i responded to too sharply was the business about the Democrats being repeatedly outfoxed/outmatched. i don’t think that is accurate, but rather reflects frustration with senatorial Democrats not always being able to control events.

          one of the necessities of the u.s. Senate is the need to work with peers whose political views may be very different. it surely must be very frustrating work. Sen. mark Warner from va. does this repeatedly and is repeatedly booed by dems on the sidelines who don’t understand Senate politics and who think he should be more critical. personally, I think Warner is patient and wise.

          that said, I do think, as you may, that the Senate dems have got to be very aggressive and noisy over the next two years; they really must educate the citizenry. they must not trade some current progress on a bill for the future of the nation under a president trump. in particular they MUST talk up trump/mcconnell, bad policy decisions and political manipulation and dishonesty. repetition of a basic message that these Republican dudes are conning the country on multiple government policies – healthcare, environment, economy, defense, treaties and national security – is essential. trump and his advisors simply are ignorant and wiildly ideological when it comes to effective policies for the nation. furthermore, they are routinely dishonest in the most blatant way when discussing these policy fantasies. this incompetence and dishonesty needs to be publicly called out over and over as it occurs.

          finally, the findings of the Mueller group must be discussed and amplified in the Senate as well as the house even if it costs cooperation. again, dem senators must not trade present small legislation gains for the future of the country under Donald Trump. ridding the nation of the stain of trumpism and the absurd fascination with the fealty of trump supporters is a sine qua non for getting this nation out of the ultimately fatal grasp of “trumpism”, i.e., of noisy, conning ignorance.

  21. Tom says:

    So the latest news is that AG Barr will only be sending a Summary of the Mueller Report to Congress, not a whole or even redacted version? That makes me wonder how much of the report Barr has read. Did he write his four-page letter last Friday based on only Mueller’s Executive Summary (I’m assuming there is one) at the beginning of the report as well as the conversation he had with Mueller and Rosenstein three weeks prior? As I recall, Barr originally said he would release as complete a version of Mueller’s report as he thought the regulations allowed, but perhaps that was said before he started really digging into it. I can imagine the report being a quite substantial volume with numerous footnotes, cross references, documents, etc. I can also imagine Barr going through it over the past couple days and realizing, “Jeez! This is worse than I thought.” Even with no further indictments, the amount of Trump-sludge Mueller has uncovered may have led Barr to conclude he should only release a bowdlerized version to Congress. The Mueller Report is fast becoming one of the most sought after volumes in the world.

    • Tom says:

      Now I see that Natasha Bertrand’s twitter says she’s been told that Barr will be releasing a “public version” of the Mueller Report; i.e., not a mere summary. Hope that’s so as long as summary and public version don’t amount to the same thing.

      • P J Evans says:

        I hope that the public version is more complete and more honest than what Tr*mp wants us to see. I don’t expect to see classified information – but there should be a lot else that can be included.

  22. Strawberry Fields says:

    If Trump successfully obstructed justice by preventing Manafort and targets from flipping, I think Muellers report would read “did not establish conspiracy” and “there is evidence for and against obstruction”, it would be completely in line with Barrs summary.

    • Tom says:

      Maybe so, but seeing all of Mueller’s evidence laid out on the examination table might make a difference in the court of public opinion.

    • Rayne says:

      We’re in bigger doo-doo than the NRA, though I hope the organization ultimately dies for lack of funding after lawsuits.

      Every single GOP member of congress on both sides of the aisle in both House and Senate who received NRA donations after the Russian money injection, likely as soon as early as 2011 (not long after Citizens United), is compromised. Not a one of them has returned their NRA donations, nor has the public demanded they do so to remove the taint of foreign influence. This is a HUGE problem.

      • viget says:


        Did you mean to say “both chambers” and not “both sides of the aisle? Or was it “every single member who received NRA donations on both sides of the aisle?”

        Meaning, it’s not just limited to the GOP? Or is it?

        Not trying to be a smartass… just asking for clarification.

        • Rayne says:

          If memory serves, at least since 2012, NRA’s donations were exclusively to GOP ~in both chambers~ with one exception. The exception was a Minnesotan but the name evades me. You are perfectly capable of checking this via or the FEC’s database; pretty sure I laid this out in post addressing the ~20 GOP senators who are up for re-election in 2020. Again, you’re capable of checking. I am trying write while moderating here and doing household chores — knock yourself out.

          • viget says:

            Ok, I did just that.

            In the 2016 election cycle, 98% and 99% of NRA donations went to Republicans in the house and senate respectively. Only 12 Democratic members of Congress received any money from the NRA, and it was a paltry $3K average contribution

            • Bri2k says:

              This is solid per my read of the NRA donation list on open secrets dot org. It looks to me like they got a few Dems on the NRA hook too perhaps hoping it would ensure a congressional cover-up.

            • Rayne says:

              Did those Dems keep their seats? The one in MN whose name escapes me ended up in an entirely different office, the NRA money proving useless for its intended purpose.

              If the NRA only spent 1-2% of its contributions on Dems, it was to prevent the appearance of being a GOP appendage more so than buy real influence. Producing and airing a broadcast TV ad to appear politically neutral would have cost more than the measly >$30K they gave to Dems.

              • Bri2k says:

                That’s a great question and I never thought to check. I was just relieved no prominent Dems or any I ever voted for were on the list. I took it as a data point and not something to dive into, which is why I’m an amateur and not a pro like you & the EW crew.

                These are all House reps. Apparently no Democratic Senators took NRA money in 2016.

                Bishop, Sanford (D-GA) $3.5k still serving

                Cuellar, Henry (D-TX) $3.5k still serving

                Peterson, Collin (D-MN) $2k still serving

                Walz, Tim (D-MN) $2k elected governor in 2018.

                Very interesting…

                • Bri2k says:

                  Missed the edit window oops…

                  Here’s 2018:

                  Bishop, Sanford (D-GA) $2.5k serving

                  Cuellar, Henry (D-TX) $6.95k servng

                  Peterson, Collin (D-MN) $9.9k serving

                  Rosen, Jacky (D-NV) $13.00
                  elected to Senate 2018

                  Wild, Susan (D-PA) $13.00 serving

                  I saw those oddball $13.00 donations explained somewhere but all I recall is it was pretty innocuous.

                  It seems to me that getting members of both parties compromised is classic spycraft, but for this place and Lawfare my knowledge of these things mostly comes from being a John Le Carre` fan.

                  • Eureka says:

                    Re your last para., for posterity (because Roger Stone page), I have to add this related item. Does this mean NRA, too, are just “dirty tricksters” (not-lol):

                    Stone got his start in political trickery while he was a student at George Washington University. Stone donated money to the campaign of Pete McCloskey, Nixon’s rival in the 1972 Republican primary, but he made the donation in the name of the Young Socialist Alliance and sent the receipt to a Rhode Island newspaper. The scam was unearthed during a Watergate-related congressional hearing a year later, costing Stone his staff position with Kansas Sen. Bob Dole.

                • Rayne says:

                  It was Walz who I was thinking of. The entire trend of NRA spending since 2000 tells a story — they clearly decided ~after Citizens United, after NRA approached Russia ~ they were only going to make a nominal effort with Dems, if 1-2% can even be considered that. Once Russia money was discovered, NO Dem should have taken NRA money.

                  Haven’t had time to look but I’d like to know what set these particular Dem recipients apart. In particular, were they on any committees, or had there been any unusual incidents in their districts like a mass shooting? If I ever have time I may look. Thanks for digging.

                  • Eureka says:

                    Bri2k and Rayne- I have a little bit of info re Susan Wild (one of the eight who got $13; hmm? thinking face) because she’s one of our four women (of 18- never forget the ratio; was 0/18) and in a nearby district. This is her first term- she took the seat of a seven-term R (Charlie Dent). Redder area of the suburbs, just past immediate collar counties and extending northward. (Also recall redistricting- so district numbers have changed if one is researching this- see her wiki, etc.) I don’t recall any mass shooting incidents from the news. (Well, there was a domestic terrorist-type police-killer on the loose ‘survivalisting’ in the woods near this area several years ago but I think ultimately to the north. Long manhunt for him.) (And as a separate matter, this area is getting into hunting territory.) The only geo-political matter I know of from Lehigh area is that there is a large, longstanding Syrian refugee/expat community. Some of the longer-residents were/are Assad-regime loyalists/ sympathizers (unsure of fairest descriptors) and some of them had put up a stink over new Assad-fleeing refugees coming here (covered in Phila. Inquirer reporting).
                    Wild is on Foreign Affairs & Educ. & Labor (I think Dent was on Appropriations, though).

                    • Eureka says:

                      I saw this earlier today. Footnote to the above and reminder that House Dems are busy working on all of the peoples’ business:

                      Rep. Susan Wild: “As a trial lawyer of 30+ years, I can say with confidence that: A) I fully understand this language & that this amendment was a clear attempt to undermine the fundamental objectives of the #PaycheckFairnessAct B) This isn’t the 1st time someone has mansplained #EqualPay to me”



                      CAP Action: “WOW. @RepByrne actually just dismissed and mansplained equal pay to @RepSusanWild… And people wonder why the pay gap still exists. #PaycheckFairnessAct (video clip)”

  23. Njrun says:

    Its’s the strategy of The Big Lie done through the prism of the GOP foundational philosophy of Might Makes Right.

    Makes one want to scream because we already know that Trump campaign agents coordinated with Russians whom obviously were agents of Russia’s leadership (there is no other kind). And that’s not counting all the other types of coordination that seemed almost certain based on what was already known.

    Then Barr says, based on nothing that anybody can see, nope, move along doggies, and the entire media falls into line. Barr, who auditioned for the job by saying “let me tell you how to cover up this Russian stuff,” then comes in and immediately does what he said he would do. And the media falls into line. What a country.

  24. Nance says:

    “But ASSUMING THAT CORSI IS CORRECT that Stone got WikiLeaks to hold the Podesta release to dampen the impact of the Access Hollywood video, it is absolutely coordination.”

    “So not only would Mueller describe that he indicted Stone, but HE PROBABLY ALSO EXPLAINS why he didn’t include a conspiracy charge in Stone’s indictment (WHICH PROBABLY RELATES primarily to First Amendment concerns, and not any illusions about WikiLeaks’ willing service for Russia on this operation). SO IT MUST BE in the report.”

    “On this matter, it’s CRYSTAL CLEAR that Barr cynically limited his discussion of the report to obscure that Mueller had, indeed, found that the campaign “coordinated” on the hack-and-leak for purposes of influencing the election.”

    Assumptions, regardless of the intelligence of the writer, do not add up to “crystal clear” proof. They just don’t. I think that bears saying.

    • bmaz says:

      “Crystal clear proof” was never claimed, and is not the standard. Marcy made out a cogent argument and you basically wander in here with a vacuous “neener, neener, neener” retort. Don’t bother us with that shallow nonsense.

  25. viget says:

    I am now off the ledge officially.

    See this link. Per CNN and Politico, DDC prosecutor claims the Mueller GJ investigation is “continuing robustly”. Not on the main CNN headline page, buried under Politics.

    • Bri2k says:

      This does seem like good news but I wonder if this “robust” investigation is just a fig-leaf so they can keep part of the Mueller report under wraps “so as not to inhibit ongoing investigations”?

    • pjb says:

      Now I am totally confused (I was only 95% confused before). Mueller determines he needs the mystery appellant information really badly. So much so that he is willing to litigate all through SCOTUS, never backing down from the effort to get the info. Then, on the eve of having the appellant’s appeals run out with a cert declination, he issues his report saying he’s done. Yet, the information is so important, that the litigation of it is handed off to the DC USAtty who continues to argue for secrecy! Is this information core to the conspiracy investigation? If so, he closed it down prematurely. Or is it peripheral, in which case why wasn’t it farmed out earlier? Can anyone try to elucidate?

      • HRHTish says:

        Been wondering this same thing. Mueller defined his mandate pretty narrowly, so if he kept a case instead of farming it out, that means the information he sought from Mystery Appellant would answer a central question. One of the Mueller (or was it Francisco by then?) filings even said something to that effect.

        • pjb says:

          which implies that this hand-off was a chess move by Mueller anticipating that Barr would order him to prematurely close shop.

          God, we have got to see the actual MR soon.

  26. foggycoast says:

    marcy does an amazing job of connecting the dots. problem is that this is all very legalistic so in the end depends on indictment, trial and conviction of trump for conspiracy and obstruction. it’s not gonna happen so long as SCOTUS has the makeup it does. which leaves impeachment and conviction as really the only option aside from trump losing 2020. unless dems keep the house and win the senate that will likely not happen. the real challenge is to tell this story in a way to sway swing voters?

  27. earlofhuntingdon says:

    In a bon mot someone invented, M. Tracey claims that EW is the Judith Miller of Russiagate. [See EW twtr feed.] Har, har. I assume he thinks wit is an adequate substitute for analysis and journalism: it is what Faux Noise writers compete over. Never mind that the Traceys of the Iraq War Miller era were all for Ms. Miller when she was using her access journalism to sell whatever lie Dick Cheney and Scooter Libby wanted published in the NYT.

    M. Tracey must think that everyone falls for bad history and bad analogies. Here’s one: If dweeb M. Tracey were trying out for cheerleader, he would lose to Michelle Malkin. The rightwing fundie cheerleader Ms. Malkin is famously able to jump about as high as a golf tee. But M. Tracey’s fanatic devotion to the cause would give Ms. Malkin a run for her flat-footed money.

    • AndTheSlithyToves says:

      –I assume he thinks wit is an adequate substitute for analysis and journalism–
      As my late brother was wont to say, “It’s a battle of wits, and you are unarmed!”

  28. J Barker says:

    Great points, EW.

    I’d add two other areas where Barr has chosen to make Trump-beneficial omissions:

    (1) Barr’s summary of Mueller’s findings about the IRA elides the fact that their disinformation campaign was designed to hurt Clinton and help Trump. Instead, Barr simply says the IRA “conduct[ed] disinformation and social media operations in the United States designed to sow social discord, eventually with the aim of interfering with the election.” Here, by contrast, is what Mueller says explicitly in the IRA indictment:

    “Defendants posted derogatory information about a number of candidates, and by early to mid-2016, Defendants’ operations included supporting the presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald J. Trump (“Trump Campaign”) and disparaging Hillary Clinton.”

    (2) In Barr’s letter on Friday announcing the end of the probe, he gives a partial direct quote of the SC regs’ requirement that the AG notify Congress if there were any actions proposed by the Special Counsel but declined by the AG:

    “In addition to this notification, the Special Counsel regulations require that I provide you with “a description and explanation of instances (if any) in which the Attorney General” or acting Attorney General “concluded that a proposed action by a Special Counsel was so inappropriate or unwarranted under established Departmental practices that it should not be pursued.” 28 C.F.R § 600.9(a)(3). There were no such instances during the Special Counsel’s investigation.”

    No reports have suggested that there were any indictments proposed by Mueller but declined by Barr, Whitaker, or Rosenstein. However, we *do* know that Rosenstein– and perhaps Whitaker, although his involvement is less certain– reached out to the Special Counsel in the wake of the BuzzFeed perjury report in January. I suppose the most natural reading of the regulation only requires Barr to tell Congress about an action proposed by Mueller but declined by the AG, but not any action the AG/Deputy AG directed or suggested the Special Counsel take. Still, I think it is worth considering whether a Barr who was truly committed to transparency and acting in complete good faith would have included a description of that interaction between Rosenstein and Mueller.

    Along the same lines, we know from news reports in the spring of 2018 that Mueller had wanted to interview Trump on obstruction. In fact, some of those reports suggested Mueller believed he needed that interview in order to close the obstruction part of his investigation. The probe has now wrapped up, and it’s clear Trump never answered any questions on obstruction. We don’t yet know why that never happened. However, Barr’s 2018 memo on obstruction was prompted by reports he had read saying Mueller was gearing up to subpoena Trump for an interview on obstruction. Barr made it very clear in that memo he thought such an action on Mueller’s part would be deeply inappropriate both according to the law and, presumably, therefore according to Department practice and guidelines. He said this:

    “Mueller should not be permitted to demand that the President submit to interrogation about alleged obstruction…. Mueller’s obstruction theory is fatally misconceived. As I understand it, his theory is premised on a novel and legally insupportable reading of the law. Moreover, in my view, if credited by the Department, it would have grave consequences far beyond the immediate confines of this case and would do lasting damage to the Presidency and to the administration of law within the Executive branch.”

    We don’t know whether Barr played a role in convincing Mueller not to pursue the interview, or even ordering him not to pursue the interview. If he did, however, his claim on Friday that neither he nor previous AGs declined any of Mueller’s proposed actions is either highly misleading or just false.

    • pjb says:

      That is an interesting observation, but wouldn’t it then mean that Mueller and his senior staff (e.g. Dreeban) actually subscribes to Barr’s view on the very severe limitations in which a President can obstruction of justice?

      Earlier in this thread was a discussion as to the rationale for Mueller’s determination not to try to compel Trump’s testimony. Without trying to put words in their mouths, I understand Rayna and BMAZ collectively to be providing 3 reasons why Mueller was savvy and strategic in not pursuing that: (1) futility (Trump would never actually testify); (2) investigative delay (would set the investigative conclusion back at least a year, maybe more) and (3) would give Trump a pr win by claiming overreach. As you can see if you scroll up, I think items (1) and (3) are at least a jump ball and (2) an insufficient reason not to do it. You seem to suggest not that he was being strategic but was convinced by Barr’s memo that he lacked legal support for his ability to subpoena the President. Assuming that Mueller does not subscribe to Barr’s rather outlandish views, do you see the determination not to subpoena as good investigative strategy?

  29. George says:

    In the short term, I think the only sort of check that we have on what Barr says/writes is the probability that Mueller and/or his staff would in some way speak out if they saw Barr’s statements become too inaccurate. Also, there were dozens of FBI Agents from WFO doing the field work, some of who are very close to retirement. Bottom line, there are too many people who know the truth, which would hopefully make Barr think twice about a coverup.

  30. oldgold says:

    “[T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”

    This key sentence fragment leaves so much unanswered.

    By what standard did the investigation “not establish” a conspiracy or coordination?

    Generally, there are three accepted standards of proof.

    1] Preponderance of the Evidence: more likely than not;

    2] Clear and Convincing: high probability; and,

    3] Beyond a Reasonable Doubt: no other reasonable explanation can be inferred or deducted.

    I assume the standard applied was close to Beyond a Reasonable Doubt. What if the evidence established it was “more than likely than not ” or that there was a “high probability” the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russians? Although not indictable, it would not be politically acceptable. Certainly, it would not constitute exoneration. We need to see the damn Report.

  31. J Barker says:

    Barr wrote a 1989 memo on executive power, “Common Legislative Encroachments on Executive Branch Authority,” which I suspect will give us a preview of how he’ll act in the coming battles between Congress and DOJ over the Mueller report. Document here:

    On executive privilege:
    “Last month, this Office provided you with a memorandum that focused on executive privilege. In addition to overt efforts to obtain privileged information, Congress often includes in bills language that purports to require that “all information” or “all reports” regarding a specific subject be made available to a particular congressional committee or other entity that is not part of the executive branch. Such efforts should be resisted, however, as an unconstitutional encroachment on the President’s constitutional responsibility to protect certain information. Therefore, it should always be recommended that such provisions include the phrase “to the extent permitted by law.””

    On requirements for the OMB to concurrently report its decisions to Congress:

    “Concurrent reporting requirements may breach the separation of powers by disrupting the chain of command within the executive branch and preventing the President from exercising his constitutionally guaranteed right of supervision and control over executive branch officials. Moreover, such provisions infringe upon the President’s authority as head of a unitary executive to control the presentation of the executive branch’s views to Congress. Accordingly, such concurrent reporting requirements should be opposed. However, if enacted, the requirement to transmit reports to Congress should be construed as applying only to “final” recommendations that have been reviewed and approved by the appropriate superiors within the executive branch, including OMB, and if necessary, the President.”

    Note: Barr is saying the concurrent reporting requirements ought to be given a particular reading, one compatible with the *President’s* being able to review and approve the relevant recommendations before the executive transmits them over to Congress. (I don’t know whether the Special Counsel regulation’s reporting requirements re: declinations made by the AG are legally analogous to these OMB requirements. So, if not, this passage may not be directly relevant).

  32. Margo Schulter says:

    While I realize that Marcy is focusing in this thread mainly on “links” or “coordination,” I would like to focus on the demand that the portion of the Mueller Report relating to the question of whether President Trump obstructed justice be released to Congress and the public in as complete a form as possible (with redactions for intelligence sources/methods, etc.).

    Specifically, assuming on the basis of the Barr quotation that Mueller found a criminal prosecution for obstruction to be a close question, his findings and presentation of arguments on either side of the question would be crucially important for Congress and the voters to read and consider.

    Evidence which might or might not meet the test of a high level confidence of persuading a trier of fact in criminal court beyond a reasonable doubt might nevertheless document what many members of Congress would consider “high crimes and misdemeanors.” And even assuming that impeachment is for practical purposes off the table with the current Senate, voters might well be interested to learn Mueller’s full findings on a situation where many reasonable people would conclude it is at least likelier than not (preponderance of evidence) that Trump did interfere with the investigations with corrupt intent. Evidence deemed insufficient for a criminal prosecution, or even the extraordinary remedy of impeachment, may compellingly militate against reelecting Donald Trump.

  33. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Brett Kavanaugh has decided that, as a sitting Supreme Court Justice, he hasn’t a large enough platform to broadcast his views. []

    To enlarge it, he has joined the faculty of the noted liberal law school named after Antonin Scalia at George Mason. (Nominally a public university in Virginia, the school is famous for the influence rightwing billionaires wield over it.)

    Chapman University must not have bid enough for Brett’s services. It will have to make do with John Yoo.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Chicken comes home to roost, although I see his wiki entry has serious gaps in his CV.

    • Jenny says:

      Maybe he will serve beer. He likes beer.
      “I drank beer with my friends. Almost everyone did. Sometimes I had too many beers. Sometimes, others did. I liked beer. I still like beer. But I did not drink beer to the point of blacking out, and I never sexually assaulted anyone.”

      • Yogarhythms says:

        I’ve heard mention that a new SCOTUS appointee likes a malt beverage every now and then. Maybe we watched the same CSPAN episode. I’m hopeful there will be a second season or at least Fan Fiction.

      • pizza says:

        Having lived near George Mason U. for almost 30 years, I can report that it’s actually not what I would consider a big drinking school, beer or otherwise. There are several good beer joints just a short walk from campus, however, and many options to buy beer if one is looking for beer. Beer would probably be the beverage of choice for this mostly commuter-school. They liked beer. They still like beer. Brett liked beer. He still likes beer. Hmm, not a bad match I guess.
        (Can’t you just see that mini Igloo cooler with a six pack of Labatt’s on ice hiding under his seat on the bench? His daydreams are probably all beer commercials. No offense to beer lovers here. I’ve had my share myself.)

        On another, slightly related topic here: I spoke with Justice Scalia once, very briefly, when I answered his call at a local roofing company he used. We exchanged may 5 words and he sounded exactly as I imagined he would. That’s my Scalia story. That’s all. Thanks for reading.

      • pizza says:

        Having lived near George Mason U. for almost 30 years, I can report that it’s actually not what I would consider a big drinking school, beer or otherwise. There are several good beer joints just a short walk from campus, however, and many options to buy beer if one is looking for beer. Beer would probably be the beverage of choice for this mostly commuter-school. They liked beer. They still like beer. Brett liked beer. He still likes beer. Hmm, not a bad match I guess.
        (Can’t you just see that mini Igloo cooler with a six pack of Labatt’s on ice hiding under his seat on the bench? His daydreams are probably all beer commercials. No offense to beer lovers here. I’ve had my share myself.)

        On another, slightly related topic: I spoke with Justice Scalia once, very briefly, when I answered his call at a local roofing company he used. We exchanged may 5 words and he sounded exactly as I imagined he would. That’s my Scalia story. That’s all. Thanks for reading.

        • P J Evans says:

          I actually prefer beer to wine – possibly heresy, as I’m a Californian – but my consumption is strictly limited for medical reasons, and my limit has always been one (one bottle of beer, one glass of wine, one shot of whiskey).
          I have to assume that that justice is either lying or has never learned what his limit is.

  34. Eureka says:

    From your post on the topic weeks ago, I keep thinking about Stone’s ~de-distancing his role from the campaign in his Third Motion to Dismiss the DNC lawsuit.

    Shortly after that post, I ~ wondered-ish if it was somewhat replicative of Stone’s taking much of the brunt for Trump ca. 2000 when they got in trouble in NYS over casino lobbying (I’ll grab some links shortly).

    But now I wonder how Stone’s evolved language in that motion (or the changes over time) would mesh with the Barr statement (and more on point, with Mueller’s unknown language– on which I was more focused, in the hypothetical, at the time of your post).

    • Eureka says:

      Here are those links re the 2000 lobbying trouble in NYS, though if one wanted to get into this, the Albany Times Union might be a better primary source. You can see how some of this hinky saga evolved over these three datelines:

      July 17, 2000 | 4:00am

      Trump and Others Accept Fines For Ads in Opposition to Casinos – The New York Times
      OCT. 6, 2000

      Nov 14, 2000 | 12:00 AM
      ALBANY – Mogul Donald Trump and allies who helped him fight an Indian-run casino proposed for the Catskills will pay a record $250,000 fine to the state Lobbying Commission, under a settlement signed yesterday. They also agreed to spend $50,000 on ads that disclose they were behind a public relations blitz attacking the gaming plan. The settlement requires Trump to pay $50,000 in penalties, while his casino strategist Roger Stone and the New York Institute for Law and Society have to come up with $100,000 each. The fines are the highest penalty ever assessed by the Lobbying Commission. They grew out of allegations that Trump and his associates violated the state’s lobbying law by failing to disclose they were mounting the effort to torpedo an Indian casino planned for the Catskills. While agreeing to pay the fines, Trump and Co. made no concessions that they had violated the lobbying law, said Judd Burstein, a lawyer for Stone. Trump – apparently concerned competition would hurt his Atlantic City casinos – gave $150,000 to the New York Institute for Law and Society to finance an ad campaign that took swipes at Gov. Pataki for backing the Indian plan. The ads contended the St. Regis Mohawk Indian tribe was involved in organized crime – a claim that infuriated the tribe. Trump and the institute also have financed a lawsuit brought by two state legislators who challenged Pataki’s authority to issue Indian gambling compacts.

      • Eureka says:

        While I had mentioned this in the first place as a sort of potential roadmap as to how Trump & Stone wriggle from their troubles, and/or like the FEC thing with McGahn (i.e. they know better), I am compelled to add a couple of Trump-defining blurbs from the NYT piece above, because SAD:

        Mr. Trump has long feared that competition in the Catskills would undermine the gambling industry in Atlantic City, where he owns three casinos. In the first six months of this year, Mr. Trump reported spending $303,856 to lobby state legislators against gambling and a proposed Indian casino in Monticello, 90 miles northwest of New York City.


        Mr. Trump vowed yesterday to continue to campaign against gambling in the Catskills and other areas of New York. ”It will destroy the progress that’s been made in New York City,” he said. ”It will drain money out of the city. Instead of buying cars and apartments, they’ll be spending money at the casinos.”

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          “It will drain money from clubs he owns or those owned by people he owes favors to.”

    • Tony Cincy says:

      No, you are not wrong. But Frankel’s piece while starting strong runs out of steam stumbling through the particulars.

      We need Mueller’s conclusions on the length and breadth of the Russian efforts. We need to balance that against Trump’s equivocations, obfuscations and denials of those overwhelming facts, slathered with the icing of his craven behavior in Helsinki and secretive communications with Putin everywhere.

      Intent is difficult to prove but it can be done. If Russia and Trump’s dove-tailed behavior does not betray corrupt intent, what does it do? This needs to be hit much much hsrder.

  35. Tony Cincy says:

    The people at EW do a fine job in pointing out what Barr has ignored and what he dances around in the way of particular facts in his thumbnail sketchy of what must be an encyclopedic endeavor.

    It strikes me though that we are missing a great opportunity in marketing this mess in saying so little about the elephant in the room that Barr pirouettes around and away from in fashioning the skimpy shroud he tries to stretch to cover the naked venality, lying and corruption of the orange menace.

    Russia. That’s the keystone of the whole rotten edifice.

    Russia interfered with the election.
    Russia wanted to elect Trump.
    Russia’s dealings with Trump Trump tries to hide.

    I’m confident there must be many pages in the Mueller Report on Russian Interference. No one undertakes an endeavor of that magnitude without expecting recompense.

    If that was not to come from a Trump, then from whom? As Marcy says it’s all about a quid pro quo. Let’s emphasize the quid. The quo falls easily and logically into place. That’s exactly what they don’t want us to see. If we start with first principles it will line up more quickly. And makes the conspiracy and obstruction visible to all who open their eyes.

    • bmaz says:

      I’d urge that the Federalist Society is as big of inflection point as Russia. Now, that is just me.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Perhaps bigger. The body politic may eventually recover from Trump. But if it doesn’t die from complications, it will be weaker, which makes it vulnerable to other infections. That’s why the House needs to pursue evidence of crimes and non-criminal wrongdoing by Trump and document them for the public record. So we know what we’re fighting next time.

        The FedSoc, however, is more like the divorcing spouse from hell. It has catalogued every loss and embarrassment the right has endured since the Mayflower and is attempting to right those “wrongs” and to prevent their recurrence. Stacking the federal judiciary is only its most obvious program.

        Imagine if Hamilton had a time machine and could go back and refight every political battle in American history lost to progressives, with knowledge of how it was lost and with the muscle to outmaneuver a body politic that doesn’t know the fight it’s in.

    • pizza says:

      Our national preoccupation for all of this mess has distracted us from the everything else important to our interests giving the Russians an infinite number of opportunities to slip right in and undermine all of the hard work of previous, legitimate administrations. Add to that zero existence of any real leadership from the White House since Jan 2017 on nearly everything, not the least of which has been a complete lack of White House directed response to the hacking shit. No inter-agency task force. No executive orders. No additional resources. Nothing. No direction at all from the leader (?) of our nation to defend ourselves from this new weapon. All of this gets zero coverage. That’s Putin’s real victory and he’s just laughing at us right now.

      (I can’t wait for them to build a Trump Library like the real presidents have. That’s when America gets to see an administration from the inside. What’s his ‘legacy’ going to look like then? I think we all know and it ain’t gonna be pretty.)

      • Rayne says:

        Some of us are quite capable of multi-tasking, I’ll thank you to notice, “national preoccupation” my eye. It’s also far past time for the disengaged but affected to step up and do their share. Like get up in their representatives’ grills on a regular basis.

      • Savage Librarian says:

        The National Archives are a much better bet for DT docs. Trump Library might be all velveteen paintings, chandeliers and fake gold and white furniture. Only books will be Art of the Deal. Tons of them for sale…

  36. To be continued says:

    Thank you Marcy for always bringing us back to the facts. I can’t fight the feeling that mueller anticipated how all this is unfolding and planned accordingly. Release report, check, Barr releases his version, check. This cannot really come as a surprise to anyone watching….

  37. Omali says:

    Sorry for popping in with an OT observation. Was watching a Politico reporter on Rachel just now, discussing an ongoing “robust” GJ proceeding. He twice said something like, “when Mueller was told ‘pencils up’.” Rachel didn’t press him, but that sure sounded odd.

  38. Badger Robert says:

    1. Nadler will invite Mueller to testify. Barr will object.
    2. The committee will subpoena Mueller.
    3. The DOJ will sue to quash.
    4. The case will run up to the US Sup Ct.
    5. The court will say executive branch employees no longer have to testify before Congress, negating article I.
    6. They get to re-litigate Watergate and this time they will win. Then Speaker Pelosi’s hand will be forced.

  39. bmaz says:

    Seriously, the amount of commenters on this blog, mostly recently arrived, though not all, that think Mueller could have exercised the magic sparkly unicorn dance to get Trump to testify is kind of stunning. They cannot describe how that process actually would work, and cannot describe why it is all so freaking critical. Some press the argument that Mueller JUST HAD TO HAVE Trump to establish “intent”.

    This is sheer idiocy perpetuated by the MSM, as was Trump’s willingness to actually formally be interviewed. You fell for that shit. I am sorry for that, but if you had been paying attention here, you never would have. That is not our fault and, please stop lecturing us how brilliant your little current johnny come lately comment is when we have been addressing this for months, if not years. Thanks for your input.

    • Eureka says:

      Plus I get a little concerned with all of the talk about “pleading/taking the 5th” as inculpatory, mainly because the likeliest context for the average commenter to encounter the self-incrimination clause on the judgment end of things– I assume– would be while serving as a juror. What would people arguing this about Trump think of a defendant who chooses not to take the stand as a witness?

      In other words, it’s reinforcing a ‘bias muscle’ that we are not supposed to have.

    • pjb says:

      BMAZ, I am not sure if you believe you have been arguing in good faith or not, but as I read the thread above, I don’t see anyone, particularly me, claiming Mueller had some magic potion that would make Trump testify. That is a complete strawman. I wont speak for others but what I have said, is that while it is unlikely that Trump would ever testify if coerced by subpoena, the chances that he would testify are non-zero. Importantly however, Trump’s probable assertion of his 5th Amendment rights was a useful piece of information for Mueller to obtain. This is demonstrably true considering that Mueller, in the end, determined not to make a charging determination on obstruction, leaving it to Congress to consider. In so considering, Congress – unlike a jury in a criminal case – is not prohibited from taking an adverse inference from his 5th Amendment assertion.

      Your arguments, apart from invective, center around the futility of obtaining Trump’s testimony, the amount of time it would cause Mueller’s investigation and the supposed pr win Trump would in the meantime work from claiming overreach. You may well be correct in at least some of these arguments. In fact, you may be correct in all of them. But to mischaracterize the posts of those unconvinced by these arguments is not cricket.

      • bmaz says:

        I will not waste one more second on your repetitive bullshit. Get a grip. And if you do not understand that the vaporous “need Trump testimony to make out intent” is behind the rubes demanding a subpoena, then you are fatally behind the curve.That is not a “strawman”, that is a fact. Take your umbrage elsewhere. Also, be consistent with the handle you use here, we do not allow multiple personas.

        • Rayne says:

          Let me add here that username pjb has also commented under ‘Pjb’ and ‘P___ B____'(<-redacted here), beginning one month ago yesterday. Perhaps the differences in username were merely slips but we do take note of these things along with the body of users' comment contributions.

          • pjb says:

            If i inadvertently used my full name the first time i posted, I apologize. It was unintentional and I appreciate your obscuring it. I was not trying to use multiple personas.

    • dwfreeman says:

      Mueller pursued an interview with Trump for most of the tenure of his appointment. He apparently ended the effort last fall when his team agreed to submit questions to the White House for Trump’s consideration and he signed off on them Nov. 20, 2018. Originally, there were 16 subject areas, and the White House wanted it limited to only the Russia investigation, not the quid pro quo, because Trump’s lawyers knew their client was on safe ground there.

      And instead of pushing for a subpoena, which Trump’s legal team was fully expecting, and always planned to challenge thinking they were on complete solid ground, Mueller abandoned the idea.

      Trump’s lawyers had seen what had happened to two other Trump associates who submitted for interviews and later submitted guilty pleas to charges arising from those interviews. They were never going to let that happen to Trump. Mueller’s team nevertheless pushed hard for an interview, set a tentative meeting date in January 2018 and continued to seek one even after that one was scrapped.

      So, for whatever reason, short of subpoenaing Trump, Mueller eventually agreed to accept written answers from the president on limited subject areas of questioning. So, in point of fact, he didn’t go all-in, and critics can make that charge accurately especially when there is as yet no available public record of his case or clarification from his team to support that decision one way or the other. So, arguing that it was a waste of time and that he never intended to pursue a face-to-face meeting for whatever purpose with Trump to explore a whole variety of issues outside the narrow focus that he eventually agreed to is just not true, based on public reporting.

      Moreover, the debate over whether Trump could be compelled to provide testimony by subpeona would also be fought on the legal ground of the subject matter itself, not whether his elected office now offered a certain legal protection status that would have shielded him from doing so. That was the whole point of the investigation from a counter intelligence standpoint, not just a criminal one, whether his election was legitimate or not based on alleged support from an foreign power.

      • bmaz says:

        Jesus, stop with the repetitive bullshit. You keep saying the same thing. You are wrong, of course, but you have said the same baloney over and over. Same as pbj.

        Also, when you say:

        So, arguing that it was a waste of time and that he never intended to pursue a face-to-face meeting for whatever purpose with Trump to explore a whole variety of issues outside the narrow focus that he eventually agreed to is just not true, based on public reporting.

        Is a complete load of shit. Give it a rest.

  40. Hug h says:

    I have a very wishful thinking fantasy that goes something like this-
    The setup-
    -Mueller is a completely by the book Boy Scout, the kind of guy who is horrified by and never, in a million years, would vote for Trump.
    -Mueller and Barr are long time colleagues and close friends.

    -After 2 yrs serving as Special Counsel and digging through a mountainous morass of ratfuck crappy behavior, evidence, testimony etc. …on the part of many nefarious characters large and small,… following every slimy thread where it leads… Mueller still has no “smoking gun” evidence of coordination between Trump and Russia. BUT the stench is horrific, it’s very clear that Trump and his circle will stoop to anything, anywhere, anytime to serve their own ends, …they are crafty, but also mostly very stupid. The report Mueller has to write is… epic and endless…
    -So Mueller reaches out to his buddy Barr.
    Barr- “What have you got?”
    Mueller- “It’s an endless, epic shit show, but no smoking gun.”
    Barr- “What about obstruction?”
    Mueller- “Are you kidding me?? Don’t you watch TV, see his tweets, hear the garbled crappy lies that come out of his pie hole every day!?”
    Barr- “yeah, I hear you, what do you want to do?”…

    -So Barr agrees to write a “position” letter that will attract the attention of the The Orange Gas Giant in the Oval Office and very likely draw a nomination to AG.

    AND Barr is… appointed!

    -Shortly thereafter Mueller wraps up his report which details a Mountainous pile of endless ratfuck behavior. A report that will cause Trump, and his base, “heads to explode”.
    -Barr follows with a quick “window dressing” whitewash summary. Within a day Trump publicly agrees- “yes” the greatest “Witch Hunter” EVER- Mueller acted HONORABLY … and the STAGE is set.

    -Next… the closed door House and Senate Intelligence and Judiciary Committee Meetings with Barr and Rosenstein. Where it very quickly dawns on all the Long Con Don sucking GOP Congress”men” that the Jig is finally and very certainly up. Trump must go… under the bus,… then the bus will be reversed and… THUMP goes the Trump again, then forward… THUMP… repeat.

    -A drip, drip death spiral release of the stinking steaming pile of evidence and the wheezing “Wicked Witch” slow death deflation of the Orange Gas Giant!

    I’m really not a conspiracy guy… sorry I just couldn’t help myself.

  41. Margo Schulter says:

    This is a response to bmaz at 8:29 p.m., since I’m unable to use the “Reply” feature with my browser, and read you as seeking a clarification of my comment at 5:02 p.m. Basically, with oldgold’s earlier comment on burdens of persuasion as an inspiration, I was saying that evidence of obstruction by Trump that might or might not warrant a criminal prosecution could nevertheless be critically important for Congress and the electorate to consider and weigh carefully.

    What I’d add is that Mueller’s decision not to take a definitive position on the obstruction question might follow the precedent of the famous Watergate roadmap: presenting the facts, and leaving the ultimate judgment to Congress (and here likely the voters at large in 2020). Is that your reading, bmaz?

    • pizza says:

      FWIW, when that happens to me, I just right-click to open the link in another tab. Works every time.

  42. Willis Warren says:

    While I think it was admirable to take the “wait and see” approach with Barr… it’s pretty obvious his rewrite of the Mueller report isn’t going to include the final chapter.

    It’s time to discuss what’s gonna happen when that comes. Mueller should have been called by Nadler already. Everyone here needs to write him and make sure it happens. As a DOJ employee, Mueller isn’t going to publicly question the AG. We need him to testify before HJC and we need questions that he can answer in his official capacity.

    Get to work everyone.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Sauce for the goose… But this is not a policy or rule to live by. It is shouting for the Base, a technique borrowed from Braveheart and shameless Hannity.

    • harpie says:

      Today; Schiff’s committee; 9AM:
      [quote] On Thursday, March 28, 2019, at 9 a.m., the Committee will hold a hearing titled “Putin’s Playbook: The Kremlin’s Use of Oligarchs, Money and Intelligence in 2016 and Beyond.” Former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, former CIA Chief of Russian Operations Steven Hall, and CSIS senior vice president and author of the Kremlin Playbook Heather Conley will testify in open session. [end quote]

    • Rayne says:

      LOL What a tell. You know the orange weapons-grade eejit must be terribly worried about Schiff’s hearing if he not only feels compelled to rant on Schiff but dispatches GOP members of Congress to do the same in person.

  43. DBL says:

    Mueller had what, 19 attorneys working on this? Add Mueller himself and it’s 20. You have to know that someone has kept a copy of the whole report. At what point does one of the 20 step forward and become the Ultimate Patriot and drop off a copy to Nadler …. or AOC?

  44. North Jersey John says:

    Much love to Hug H screenplay version, which reminded me — isn’t Mueller also issuing a Counterintelligence Report, with an FBI briefing to the Gang of 8 be scheduled within the next 30 to 60 days? I recall this is a separate part of the SCO reporting obligations, so it can’t necessarily be buried or spun by Barr. If this is correct, then we all wait for the next big event to reveal more info?

    • Jockobadger says:

      NJJ – I’m very interested in this too. I’ve been reading about this Counterintelligence Report for a few months now, but just occasionally, and not from any unimpeachable sources (that I recall offhand) e.g. Marcy, bmaz, rayne, M. Hasan, or someone like that.

      Would one of you mind expanding on this just a wee bit? I’ve read there should be a CI report and that it gets delivered to someone other than Barr – is that true? If true does Barr have to sign-off on it first? Fingers crossed. Thanks Hug H!

  45. david_l says:

    Probably too late to get a response here but: (Marcy and bmaz et al.)

    Assuming both Barr and Mueller are good lawyers and, therefore, their words say precisely what they want to communicate, I am interested in the specific wording of Barr’s quote of Mueller’s report on the conspiracy issue, especially in the context of Barr’s footnote 1: “In assessing potential conspiracy charges, the Special Counsel also considered whether members of the Trump campaign “coordinated” with Russian election interference activities. The Special Counsel defined “coordination” as an “agreement—tacit or express—between the Trump Campaign and the Russian government on election interference.”

    Barr’s quote from Mueller on the conspiracy issue (contextualized by the criterion “assessing potential conspiracy charges”) is: “[T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”

    Barr does not quote Mueller as “[T]he investigation established that members of the Trump Campaign did not conspire or coordinate with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”

    Taken along with Barr’s quote of Mueller on obstruction “while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him” is it possible (or even likely) – again assuming these guys’ words say exactly what they wanted to say – that Mueller (and Barr) could have been saying “although we couldn’t mount slam dunk court cases there sure was a lot of funny business going on – so you might want to keep digging”…

  46. cfost says:

    The Barr memo defines “coordinate,” but it does not define “Russian government.” This allows Barr to lay blame on the known, and official, members of the Russian military and GRU who were involved in the hacks. But, crucially, it allows Barr to deny that the Trump campaign coordinated with the Russian government, since the people Trump was coordinating with were “civilians.” Barr (and the GOP apparatus) are playing magic tricks with logic and honesty.
    Also, Rosenstein’s Appointment Order frames the investigation in terms of “links and/or coordination between the RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT and INDIVIDUALS associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump.” (Emphasis mine) It might better have framed the investigation in terms of INDIVIDUALS associated with BOTH the Russians AND Trump.
    Since 1989, there is no real difference, in the Russian mind, between a fighter jet and an Airbus 319; between an oligarch and a soldier; between a college student or a lawyer and a spy. They use both for the same purpose.
    Maybe I missed it: since 5/17/17, has anyone at SCO or DOJ written an official definition of what they mean by “Russian government?”

    • bmaz says:

      Frankly, there is an argument to be made (see the twitter feed of campaign finance expert Marc Elias) that Barr did not even use the proper standard under the BCRA as to conspiracy.

      • cfost says:

        “The regulations shall not require agreement or formal collaboration to establish coordination.” Public Law 107-155, sec214(c), March 27, 2002.
        So, instead of holding Barr’s feet to the fire for his word salad, the GOP goes on the attack against Schiff in order to create a diversion, and confusion via fear and anger. Straight from the tactical manuals of Hitler, Stalin and Mao.

        • bmaz says:

          Yes. And I think Marc has a decent point. Granted, some of this is in the one off category, but he makes a very cogent argument. Never sleep on Elias.

  47. Bight says:

    Does anyone have any clues on who the Brexiteers Stone was dining with are?

    Looking into Steve Bannon’s “Movement” in Europe I have come across a bunch of Trump administration connections to the Brexit crowd that go way back.

  48. pizza says:

    @ Rayne says:
    March 28, 2019 at 10:23 am

    No offense intended, dear Rayne. The last thing I ever want is to draw your ire. I should have clarified that I’m speaking in very general terms for the apathetic masses, most of whom don’t understand the history (very bad history) that’s playing out right in front of them – nothing even remotely close to anything in any US history textbooks, before anyway. That’s not comforting to me at all. And those that do pay a smidgen of attention can’t be bothered with trying to grasp the depth of this situation – how many ways Trump is doing great damage to our country. (Damn! I hate that motherfucker so much!!!!!!!)

    We’re absolutely the exceptions here, obviously. And I find great comfort in reading what everyone has to to say not to mention the vigilant defense of the integrity of this site by you and bmaz (it’s so fun to see you tear into a troll when one pops up every now and then). I can’t get that here where I live, as liberal as this area is considered where there’s more Southern Baptist churches than gas stations.

    Even when I try to talk to other friends in other places, I’m continually alarmed by their overriding desire to not have to deal with any of this shit. Yeah, because not caring and blindly leaving things to our alleged representatives in DC has gone beautifully so far. Great strategy. I bet the view is great from two feet under the sand. Must be really nice to not have to give a crap what happens to your country, freedom, and your kids’ futures. There are even apps now to help people get involved. Maybe we need to broadcast that a lot more. I don’t know. Sorry for rambling again. I’m hypomanic right now. I can’t shut up when I get like this.

Comments are closed.